Robert Normandeau

  • Year of composition: 2018-19, 20-21
  • Duration: 10:25
  • Instrumentation: multichannel fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • ISWC: T9275702824


ISRC CAD502110029

  • 48 kHz, 24 bits

Raíl is a work that draws its materials from several sources and its inspiration from several ideas. The first of these sources is the train. As much the one that rolls, cracks and passes, than the one that whistles and honks. Train recordings from Canada, the United States and Mexico agree to seal a North American treaty. The title, Raíl, is also the same in the three North American languages (the accent emphasizes the Spanish spelling).

Raíl is not so much the representation of the passing train, so often illustrated in electro, as the sound perception of a passenger inside the train. Hence the feeling of muffled, rumbling sound materials.

Another source is a sound recording of a Sûreté du Québec helicopter that flew over my neighbourhood for several hours during the student events of the Maple Spring in 2012. This helicopter sound, typical, in an urban setting, of a kind of oppression, reminded me of my stay in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1997, where it was omnipresent, day and night. Other helicopter sounds recorded over more than twenty years have been added to that one.


Raíl was developed during many stays abroad — Banff, Morelia, Santiago, Bowling Green, New Smyrna Beach — spread over a long period: 2012-18. Raíl was realized in 2018-19 at the composer’s studio in Montréal (Québec). The work was premiered on February 19, 2019 at the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa in Lisbon (Portugal) during a series of seminars and concerts presented by Dias de Música Electroacústica (DME). Thanks to all those who welcomed me during these artistic residencies, in particular Rodrigo Sigal, Federico Schumacher Ratti, Elainie Lillios, Nick Conroy, and Jaime Reis.


  • February 19, 2019, Mary & Normandeau: Concerto 1, Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa, Lisbon (Portugal)
  • March 17, 2022, Premiere of the final version: live @ CIRMMT: Le médium c’est l’espace, Music Multimedia Room — Pavillon de musique Elizabeth Wirth — Université McGill, Montréal (Québec)