Here the approach is more ‘classical’: the sound sources, although instrumental, are used as objects reshaped with the traditional transformation techniques of the analog studio. The reference to the instrumental nature of the sounds and to the string quartet remains very strong: it is at the source of the process.
During the composition of this piece I was thinking of Beethoven’s Große Fuge, Opus 133, especially of its unbelievable — almost inhuman — tension, as if Beethoven had wanted to make the instrument explode, wanted to reach the limit beyond which reside zones of expression inaccessible to acoustic instruments — other than in dreams — but that the magic and artifices of electroacoustic means now allow us to explore.
Searching for the inflections and articulations characteristic of string quartet writing throughout time, pushing them a little to enter into an imaginary space, transcending the physical limits of the musicians tied to their acoustic instruments remain the objectives of Quatuor (Quartet), intended as an hommage to those performers for whom the formation of a quartet is a little like entering into a religion…
Since its premiere, Quatuor has known many different versions and forms of presentation. First, it was realized as the soundtrack for the animation film L’âge de chaise (The Age of the Chair), directed by Jean-Thomas Bédard at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). It was then reworked at the Atelier sonore de l’ONF (‘NFB Sound Shop’) as an autonomous electroacoustic piece. In its concert format, the work premiered in April, 1979, at the Conventum in Montréal in a concert produced by ACREQ. It was then presented along with a multi-image projection realized by photographer Jean-Guy Thibodeau. Quatuor was awarded the 1st Prize in the Electroacoustic Category of the 8th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France, 1980) and the 1980 CIME Grand Prize, and was first released on the Cultures électroniques 1 compact disc produced by the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Bourges (GMEB) on the Le chant du monde label (LDC 278043).