Skip to main contentSkip to audio controlsSkip to footer

Le bruit des ailes

Marcelle Deschênes

Programme notes
To all those who feel the urge to stretch their wings

“Is the bird scared of the sound its wings make when they open?” —Clarissa Pinkola Estés

“I reign in the azure like an unknown sphinx;
I unite my heart of snow to the whiteness of swans” — Charles Baudelaire, Les fleurs du mal: XVII. La Beauté

The trampled otherness, the wrench, the wandering, the freezing, and then the itch and the explosive freedom of the stretched out wings of an Ugly Little Duckling (Hans Christian Andersen).

Le bruit des ailes (The Sound of Wings) was recomposed from Musique défilé (1999-2000) and contains self-referential quotes from the music works Écran humain (1983), Lux (1985), D-503 (1987) and Ludi (1990). The materials used for this piece are taken from a “soundbase” of ice storms (from the ice storm that struck Québec in 1998; thanks to Jean-François Laporte for helping with the recordings), erupting volcanoes and nuclear tests in forgotten deserts. This soundbase was created together with Nicolas Boucher.

The pieces composed for the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne’s music/fashion show event “Musique défilé pour une fin de siècle” were later reworked into standalone acousmatic works — Indigo and Le bruit des ailes. They became the first two parts of the large-scale work Griffes (Claws), still in progress and inspired by Clarissa Pinkola Estés’s research in psychoanalysis (Women Who Run With the Wolves) and by Marie-Louise von Franz (Feminine in Fairy Tales). Through the use of sonic metaphors and highly evocative referential sounds, the music stages mental pictures associated with various “wild woman” archetypes taken from myths, dreams and tales. These first two parts are introspective works digging into the intimate space of affects. Also rolling through them are the tragedies of the origins and the fascinating forces of creation. Attempting to explore these buried memories, these untamed torrents, cannot be done without some commotion or tidal waves.

[English translation: François Couture, viii-06]

Le bruit des ailes was recomposed in 2002 from Musique défilé (1999-2000) at the Bruit blanc studio and the PRIM, centre d’arts médiatiques, studio in Montréal (thanks to its residency program); the first mastering was performed by Bruno Bélanger in 2004 at Studio PRIM in Montréal (thanks to its coproduction program); the final master was made by Dominique Bassal in 2005. The piece premiered on November 2, 2002 at the Notre-Dame-de-Jacques-Cartier Church during the Festival des musiques sacrées in Québec City. Thanks to PRIM, centre d’arts médiatiques. Le bruit des ailes was selected as finalist at the 5th Concurso Internacional de Música Eletroacústica de São Paulo (CIMESP ’03, Brazil).


  • November 2, 2002, Festival des musiques sacrées de Québec, Église Notre-Dame-de-Jacques-Cartier, Quebec City (Québec)
  • Composer(s): Marcelle Deschênes
  • Year of composition: 2000, 02
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • ISWC: T0729241591
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Duration: 10:54
  • ISRC: CAD500619850