Les flûtes en feu (Flutes on Fire) is based on the concept of the composer as an alchemist. With the use of computers and modern studio facilities, the composer of acousmatic music or sonic art, is able to treat the acoustic material as if it was a substance with a constantly redefinable morphology. In the piece the basic sonic ‘substance’ is some simple sounds of flutes. They are transformed and recomposed in various ways as to give a glimpse of their virtual potential. As the piece evolves, the relatively simple structures reveals new and sometimes surprising sides of their original gestures. There is also another element reccuring throughout the composition. A short metallic sound, reminiscent of the sledge hitting the anvil, signals the presence of a force that is about to change the shape of things. Finally, in the end of the piece, the sound of fire, representing the catalyzing process of the four elements present as the basis of all alchemy, breifly enters the sonic stage to confirm the process that has been taking place. As in many other instances where the ambitions of art touches upon the old idea of metamorphosis, working with this piece definitely made me realize that “all that glitters ain’t gold.” However, as usual when working closely with some sound material, my relation to the flute as a source of sound and as an instrument in general got a lot deeper, witch in itself is a golden experience.
Les flûtes en feu was realized in 1999 at the Charybde studio of the Institut international de musique électroacoustique de Bourges (IMEB, France) and at the composer’s studio and premiered on June 14, 2000 during the Synthèse festival (Bourges, France). Les flûtes en feu was awarded the First Prize ex æquo at the 1st Biennial Acousmatic Composition Competition, Métamorphoses 2000 (Brussels, Belgium) and was first recorded in 2000 on the Métamorphoses 2000 CD (MR 2000).