To my mother, in memoriam
A man journeys to the encounter with himself…: from the emptiness, both secure and univocal, of eternity with no future to the flowering of a passionate, ephemeral life with an uncertain future, notwithstanding that “its swirling pillar irresistibly carries me to a love…”
The Poet takes us on an interior voyage, that of a lifetime, in which each of us can imagine himself, can recognize himself, can identify with the narrator. The tale, linear and structured, seems to be the ideal form for this progression of the self. And so I excerpted key phrases from the original story representing each stage of the voyage and, to conserve the linear format, took the part of the simple reading, monochord at the beginning and becoming more animated as it goes on.
The musical form is derived from the words and the structure of the text along three axes: time, space and movement. The axis of time, ignored for ages, fixed, exterior to Man, acquires a ‘here and now,’ then takes on a past and a future, accelerates, grows shorter… up to the moment when the loop of time sends it back to eternity. The axis of space, which opens from the confines of the ‘magic circle’ to the reaches of the desert, where one finds ‘distances which never diminish’. To finally situate itself in that place of ‘birthing and dying’. The axis of movement above all, immobile at the beginning of the story, moved by the slight trembling of the Ginkgo leaves (that ages-old witness of the origin of our planet) becoming more animated along ‘inexorable paths’, and predictable lines, circles and spirals, moving through a constantly changing world to the end: a swirling spine which carries him irresistibly toward a Love…
Le ginkgo [The Ginkgo Tree] was realized from sound material for the most part vocal in origin, manipulated on a SYTER at the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Marseille (GMEM, France). The work was realized in February and March 1994 at the Métamorphoses d’Orphée studio of Musiques & Recherches in Ohain (Belgium) and was presented on April 26, 1994 in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) during the L’Année nouvelle festival. Narrator: Vincent Smetana. Le ginkgo was commissioned by L’Année nouvelle (Université catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve) and Vincent Engel. Thanks to Christian Calon and Raphaël de Vivo of the GMEM for their generous hospitality and to Vincent Engel whose dynamic energy brought this work and this disc to completion. The short story Le ginkgo appeared in the collection entitled L’Année nouvelle published by Canevas (Dole, France), Les éperonniers (Bruxelles, Belgique), L’instant même (Québec) and Phi (Echternach, Luxembourg) in 1993.
- April 26, 1994, Concert, Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)