Minuit

Christian Calon

Minuit has been performed in Birmingham and Montréal…

To Francis Dhomont

1: Prologue

“When the finger points at the moon, the idiot looks at the finger.”

— proverb

If there has to be a story to Minuit, it can only be the ideal one of a leap, a passage.

2: Minuit (Minuit (Midnight); Enfer (Hell))

I see this Minuit as a high place of the night, of this luminous night in the head, beyond which all things topple over and where laws and interdictions (restrictions) release their grip. There the gates open up and the waves of the unconscious break in with a tumultuous fury. The diamond in the heart of the night.

“Sexuality and death are none other than the peak moments of a celebration that nature undergoes with the inexhaustible multitude of beings. One and the other have the sense of the unlimited waste in which nature proceeds contrary to the desire of lasting that is each being’s own.”

Georges Bataille

Beyond merely saying something with a text, it was a place I searched for. A spot right in the eye of the cyclone, in between the beauty of love, the exuberance of life and the horror of death. The place from which this word that is being said, is spoken. For being inscribed in an empty space, a place held as non-existent and on which silence forever is made, this speech unable to state what is sensed, tries with all its strength to maintain facing the void, on the edge of this limit: just before its failing and fall, the limit of its own interdiction (restriction). Here is what literature, for all time has been showing us.

3: Immémorial (Traversée (Crossing); Immémorial (Immemorial); Épilogue (Epilogue))

“The unlimited space of a sun that would testify not for the day, but for the night, freed of stars, multiple night.”

Maurice Blanchot

At times in a dazzling moment, I am certain, I thought I saw… And it is this speech exceeded by its own object, now toppled over in a place of all possibles — shattered words rising up in an unbridled circular way — that from now on I will have to try and understand.

The text — here of a fragmented and continuously recurrent writing — blended into the sound material out of which it sometimes escapes to spring, verbal crystallizations carriers of sense, is the nucleus of this last part of the piece. Physical nucleus, since it is from the flesh of words, from the sound of the voice itself that this material is derived — in fact each textual block always comes surrounded by its own sound derivations, and conceptual nucleus: one proceeds by leaps, ruptures, skids and repetitions wildly alike this place of speech one senses sometimes as being “the other,” the other shore of a crossing continuously adjourned: the Impossible, maybe.

Writing: Text-Sound Relationship

The three part division of Minuit correspond to the three texts around which the piece is made. Each one of them is written in its own particular style determining a staging mode for the voice as well as a type of sonic writing.

Part Textual writing Function of the voice Sonic writing
1 narrative: linear storyteller punctual, wefts, background to the voice
2 narrative: linear narrator orchestral, heterophony, voice-sound integration
fragmented: bits of sentences commentaries, situations
3 narrative: linear narrator derivation, variation and repetition
cyclic in particles: shattering actor: delirious (material oriented)

[i-90]


Minuit was composed from January, 1986 to October, 1989 at the composer’s studio. Some sonic elements come from work realized at the studio of the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Marseille (GMEM), France, and for the Immémorial section, from the SYTER studio of the Groupe de recherches musicales (Ina-GRM), Paris, France. The concert premiere of Minuit was on January 31, 1990 at the Maison de la culture Frontenac in Montréal; the radiophonic premiere was on November 4, 1989 on Musique actuelle of the Réseau FM de Radio-Canada. The texts by Christian Calon (© Calon, 1989) are inspired by the writings and ideas of, amongst others, James Joyce, Charles Baudelaire, Louis-Ferdinand Céline and Antonin Artaud. The voices are those of Benoît Dagenais (the storyteller: [3.1], the actor: [3.5]); Suzanne Lantagne (the narrator: [3.2], [3.5], [3.6]); Philippe Le Goff, Ghislaine Dubuc, Danièle Renaud, Christopher Lea and Christian Calon. Minuit was made possible with support from the Canada Council [for the Arts] (CCA) and was awarded the 1st prize of the Electroacoustic Program Music Category in the 17th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France, 1989).

Premiere

  • January 31, 1990, Concert, Maison de la culture Frontenac, Montréal (Québec)

Details

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