Requiem (CD) Track listing detail

Requiem

Michel Chion

  • Year of composition: 1973
  • Duration: 37:16
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: Ina-GRM

As with classical Requiems, the text of the Requiem is that of the Funeral Mass, to which are added an Épître (Epistle) (3), an Évangile (Gospel) (6) and the Our Father, the Pater Noster-Agnus Dei (8). It is presented in its original language (Latin or Greek), on rare occasions in French.

The Requiem was composed whilst thinking about the troubled minority of the living, rather than the silent majority of the dead. To the listener, it takes the form of an uneven dramatic course, the turnings and defections telling of a fundamental uncertainty in the face of life, death and faith.

At the level of form, the piece is based on a system of echoes and correspondence that is organized in a symmetrical fashion around an axis found in the middle of the work: movement 10 incorporates elements already heard in movement 1, movement 9 has elements from movement 2, etc, with variants and dissymmetries in the detail. The axis for this construction is to be found in the 6th movement (Évangile), where a symbolic rupture of the tape occurs, a breaking of the piece itself, that opens a gap of eternity in the flow of time, allowing a glimpse of ‘something else.’

With the Requiem, my intention was not to deliver a message or a manifesto, whether pro- or anti-religious. Rather, the piece is a personal testimony, in which I invite the listener to project himself, if he should like to dwell in this music of his experience and sensibility.

[xii-93]


Requiem was produced at the studios of the Groupe de recherches musicales (GRM) in Paris (France) and premiered on March 19, 1973 at the Théâtre Récamier in Paris, in a concert given by the GRM. The piece was commissioned by the Ina-GRM. Released in 1973 on the Ina-GRM label (AM68905), Requiem was awarded the Grand prix du disque of the Académie du disque français in 1978. With the voices of: André Allag (6), Michèle Bokanowski (2), Caroline Bruas (3-7), Laure and Pierre Bruas (7), Robert Cahen (10), Michel Chion (1-3-4-5-7-8-9-10), Catherine Colas (8), Jean-Pierre Colas (3-7), Catherine Guérin (9), Bernard Guillochon (4), Geneviève Julien-Labruyère (1-10) and the vocal ensemble Le Madrigal de Paris (directed by Rachid Safir) (1-4-10). Many thanks to all those who have contributed to the production of this work, specially my friend Robert Cahen for his support and encouragement.


Premiere

  • March 19, 1973, Concert, Théâtre Récamier, Paris (France)

Requiem, 3: Épître

Michel Chion

  • Duration: 1:12

(Epistle) “Death, where is your victory?” (I Corinthians, 15)

Requiem, 4: Dies Iræ

Michel Chion

  • Duration: 6:00

“On this day of wrath, what will I say?”

Requiem, 6: Évangile

Michel Chion

  • Duration: 3:28

(Gospel) “He will rise” (John 11, 21-27)

Requiem, 8: Pater Noster-Agnus Dei

Michel Chion

  • Duration: 2:17

“Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world”

Variations

Michel Chion

  • Year of composition: 1990, 2003
  • Duration: 10:02
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: French State (Music Office), Ina-GRM

Along with Dix études de musique concrète, Sonate, and 24 préludes à la vie, Variations belongs to a series of works, composed between 1987 and 1990, that takes the form of technical studies (through the search for ways to create varied sound textures using so-called ‘analog’ technology) as well as studies in concision, that aim at finding a kind of briefness specific to music on tape.

Thus Variations starts off with an original waltz theme, modified according to forms and methods designed to attest the specific field of the art of fixed sounds (also called acousmatic music or, as I prefer to call it, musique concrète).

Separated by marked periods of silence, the successive blocks which make up this piece are not movements in the traditional sense of the term, but rather ‘fragments,’ as those of a mosaic.

Nevertheless, I don’t believe I relinquish any expressive intentions in this work: it is the affirmation of the whirlwind of life which despite everything, remains vital even when confronted to failure and reality.

[xii-93]


Variations was produced at the studios of the GRM in Paris (France) and premiered in concert on March 7, 1990 in Caen (France). It was also presented on April 25, 1990 at the Clair de terre concert series organized by the Association pour la création et la recherche électroacoustiques du Québec (ACREQ) at the Planétarium de Montréal (Québec) — it was spatialized by Gilles Gobeil. Variations was commissioned by the French State (Music Office) and the Ina-GRM (Paris).


Premiere

  • March 7, 1990, Concert, Caen (Calvados, France)

Nuit noire

Michel Chion

  • Year of composition: 1979-85
  • Duration: 22:14
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
In memory of American writer Philip K Dick (1928-1982)

Nuit noire (Black Night) is a nightmare, made up of a series of descents into different levels of dreaming, uneasiness and terror. But it could also be a wakeful night, a sleepless night of anguish leading up to death.

As in my other ‘monodramas,’ Le prisonnier du son or La Tentation de saint Antoine, Nuit noire centers around a single character who endures this nightmare. But in this piece, the anonymous hero can only be heard in moans, groans and sighs, and never emits a clearly articulated sound.

Nuit noire was fashioned from Nuit, the last and longest movement of Diktat, a piece produced in 1979 at the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Marseille (GMEM). This movement was later modified at the GRM studios to create an autonomous work under this new title.

[xii-93]


Nuit noire was produced at the studios of the GRM and of the GMEM. The work premiered in concert on March 24, 1986, as part of the Ina-GRM’s Cycle acousmatique, at the auditorium of the Maison de Radio France in Paris (France).


Premiere

  • March 24, 1986, Cycle acousmatique 1986: Concert, Grand Auditorium — Maison de la radio, Paris (France)

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