… mourir un peu

Francis Dhomont

Programme Notes

… mourir un peu

To Marthe Forget

Where one speaks once again of departures, journeys, farewells (“Leaving is already dying a little…”); and also of escape, pleasure, initiatory journeys, imaginary space and again of absence, of the ‘petite mort’ (post-ecstatic physical collapse) and of the ‘grand voyage’.

It is not surprising that … mourir un peu (… dying a little) was premiered in Marseille, amongst the relics of the ancient Phocæan harbor; the first movement, Marine, is a quick allusion to this voyage in time.

The sea nearby — a symbol both inexhaustible and pluralistic — had to be present. It is, certainly, persistently; the wave lends its energetic law to the whole and to the part: ebb/flow, growth/decline, apparition/disappearance.

The concrete slides into abstraction and then re-emerges; anchoring points in reality and furtive evocations (heard or guessed?) appear sporadically.

This piece originates from Points de fuite (Vanishing Points) further developing it, and directly draws elements for the fourth movement, Thème de la fuite (Theme of Flight). This movement is the ‘peak of the wave’ made from curves of the increasing and decreasing durations of the nine movements.

[ix-91]


… mourir un peu was realized at the studio of the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Marseille (GMEM, France) and at the composer’s studio in Montréal in 1984, and premiered on June 21, 1984 at the Jardins des vestiges in Marseille (France). The fourth movement, Thème de la fuite, was ‘recommended’ at the 2nd International Rostrum of Electroacoustic Music (IREM) in Stockholm (Sweden, 1988) and was first released on the Anthology of Canadian Music: Electroacoustic Music 4-compact disc set on the Radio Canada International label (ACM 37). Three other movements — Transfert I [Transfer 1], En abîme [In the Abyss], and Thème de la fuite — were selected by the 1986 International Computer Music Conference (ICMC ’86), Den Haag (Netherlands). Thanks to Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry who have kindly allowed the brief but pregnant quotations from Érotica (from Symphonie pour un homme seul, 1959), as well as to Laurent Lafran for certain sound recordings, not forgetting Gesualdo, Mauduit, and Schubert for their involuntary participation. … mourir un peu was commissioned by the French State (Music Office) and the GMEM.


Premiere

  • June 21, 1984, Concert-promenade, Jardin des Vestiges, Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône, France)
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Composer(s): Francis Dhomont
  • Year of composition: 1984, 87
  • Commission: French State (Music Office), GMEM
  • ISWC: T0030461983
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média

Movements

Marine

Overture. Massalia/Marseille.

[ix-91]

Cartographie liminaire

Opening credits, first drafts, articulation of volume.

[ix-91]

Un certain embarquement

Yes, yes, the one with all of its transports…

[ix-91]

Thème de la fuite

To escape, to disappear: the flight and the take off; “A rolling stone…”

[ix-91]

Transfert I

Passage from a place, from one order to another. From the earth’s center to its surface.

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En abîme

Mirror games, asymptote. The fall to the bottom of the sky.

[ix-91]

Transfert II

New crossing. From earth to sky and beyond the looking glass.

[ix-91]

Palimpseste

Strata and holes of the memory, deletion, blanks. Death and mourning go on, furtively. Recapitulation.

[ix-91]

Il ritorno [sections 1 & 2]

In the steps of Ulysses.

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