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Elsa Justel

Programme notes
To my husband

As the pulleys of the masts rocked by the wind, the apparatus of an imaginary ballet leave their members vibrate in a frantic dance. The voice of the erkencho (an instrument from the Andes made out of a bull’s horn) became hoarse and harrowing. It is not its throat singing anymore, nor is it its flesh shaking, but its bone crying out. Submerged into the liquid world of the rain stick, the horn emerges again and again, dancing and mocking, emitting a never-ending acid song.

[English translation: François Couture, viii-07]

Mâts [Masts] was realized in 1999 from sounds of traditional instruments from various cultures — erkencho (South America), rain stick (Africa), small drums and bamboos (China) — in the studio of the Groupe de recherches musicales (GRM) in Paris (France) and premiered on February 1999 at the Salle Olivier Messiaen of the Maison de Radio France (Paris, France). The piece was commissioned by the French State (Music Office) and the Ina-GRM (Paris).


  • February 9, 1999, Multiphonies 1998-1999: Concert, Salle Olivier Messiaen — Maison de Radio France, Paris (France)
  • Composer(s): Elsa Justel
  • Year of composition: 1999
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: French State (Music Office), Ina-GRM
  • ISWC: T0031201827
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Duration: 10:57
  • ISRC: CAD500720710