Palimpseste
Robert Normandeau - 2005

Duration: 15'

To Anick

This work is the fourth and the last one of a cycle called Onomatopoeias, begun in 1991 with Éclats de voix followed by Spleen (1993) and Le renard et la rose (1995). The pieces of the cycle were dedicated to the childhood, the adolescence and the adulthood where the fourth one is an homage to old age. As with the first three pieces, this one is divided into five
sections each of them evoking a feeling, associated to a musical parameter: Fury and rhythm; Bitterness and timbre; Anger and dynamics; Tiredness and space; Wisdom and texture. The title refers to a palimpsest, which is a manuscript on which a first text (even many texts) was erased in order to write a new one over it (the parchments were rare and precious). Here, the first text was the timeline structure of the previous works. It is still there but in the background. It has been overwritten with another layer made out of a series of new category of sounds, more noisy, absent of the previous works of the cycle.

Palimpseste is made exclusively with vocal sounds and more specifically with onomatopoeias that are extremely rich because they represent those instances when the sounds of human language correspond directly to the designated object or to the expression of a sentiment. The recording of the voices took place in Germany - Christian Gressier, Eberhard Geyer
and Gabriela Lang - and in Montréal - Andrée Lachapelle, Christiane Pasquier.

The work was commissioned by the ZKM in Karlsruhe (Germany) where it was premiered during the trans_canada festival on February 13, 2005 under its first name: ZedKejeM. It was revised during the summer of 2005. The work was composed with the financial help of the CALQ and the CAC. Thanks to Sabine Breitsameter and Ludger Brümmer.