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Le renard et la rose

Robert Normandeau

Programme notes
To Odile Magnan

Le renard et la rose [The Fox and the Rose] is a concert suite composed from two sound sources: the music commissioned for an adaptation for radio of the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (produced by Odile Magnan for Radio-Canada in 1994) and whose principal themes are found in it, and the voices of the actors who collaborated in the recording of the radio adaptation.

It is the third work in a cycle begun in 1991 (Éclats de voix and Spleen [recorded on the album Tangram, empreintes DIGITALes, IMED 9419/20, and IMED 9920] were the first two) and is based exclusively on the use of the voice; more specifically on onomatopoeia, which is the only form in human language that corresponds directly to the designated objects, gestures or feelings as sounds, rather than as the abstract representations that are words.

In each of the work’s five parts a state or feeling experienced in adulthood is associated with a sonic framework: Babillage et rythme (Babbling and Rhythm), Nostalgie et timbre (Nostalgia and Tone), Colère et dynamique (Anger and Dynamics), Lassitude et espace (Weariness and Space), Sérénité et texture (Serenity and Texture). In them the musical themes associated with the different characters in the book are arranged chronologically: the King, the Businessman, the Conceited Man, the Flock of Wild Birds, the Well in the Desert, the Rose, the Baobabs, the Lamplighter, the Little Flower, the Merchant Who Sold Thirst-Quenching Pills, the Fox and the Geographer.

The voices of the different characters are those of Pierre Bourgault, Françoise Davoine, Cynthia Dubois, Michel Dumont, Gilles Dupuis, Luc Durand, Monique Giroux, Jacques Languirand, Jean Marchand, Jean-Louis Millette, Guy Nadon, Martin Pensa, Gérard Poirier, Claude Préfontaine and Christine Séguin.

[English translation: Tom Carter]

Le renard et la rose was realized at the composer’s studio with a grant from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ). The piece was commissioned by The Banff Centre for the Arts for the 1995 International Computer Music Conference (ICMC ’95) with support from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA). Le renard et la rose had its premiere on September 6, 1995 at the Banff Centre for the Arts. It won the Golden Nica at the Prix Ars Electronica (Linz, Autriche, 1996). It has been recorded a number of times: Prix Ars Electronica 1996 (ORF PAE 96), Le petit prince d’Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, CBC Records (MVCD 1091-2) and Sonic Circuits V (Innova 114).


  • September 6, 1995, ICMC 1995: Concert, Margaret Greenham Theatre — The Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff (Alberta, Canada)


  • Composer(s): Robert Normandeau
  • Year of composition: 1995
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: The Banff Centre for the Arts, with support from the CCA
  • ISWC: T0715225174
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Duration: 14:55
  • ISRC: CAD509913550


Babillage et rythme

Nostalgie et timbre

Colère et dynamique

Lassitude et espace

Sérénité et texture