La volière

Randall Smith

La volière has been performed in Toronto…

The opening fanfare offers a blueprint for creation, an inaugural explosion which ushers in a universe of struggle, where the machines of our perception are pitted against their natural surround. Epitomized by the gestures of birds, their movements of flight are retraced according to the dictates of a machine universe, which aligns them into orders of understanding, geometries of the visible.

Volière is French for aviary. The large birds’ cage is the one we’ve built ourselves, and amongst its many exhibited specimens is the music of this piece, La volière. Using the human voice as a template or ground, the sounds of birds swarm around it, finally fragmenting until they become inhabited by the machines which describe them. In a series of crescendos the sound mimes the voices of birds, using their movement to inform its own, its risings and fallings an echo of the natural order. This parallel universe, constructed along the lines of the first, bears the traces of its original, yet remains distinctly manufactured, synthesized, shaped. La volière mimes a natural process of growth and evolution, begun with the resounding clap of creation; it proffers a song of machines learned in the habits of ornithology, its own issue grown against the sound of flight.

La volière was realized at the composer’s studio in 1994 with support from the Canada Council [for the Arts] (CCA).


stereo fixed medium



Date Work Program
May 6, 2013 Randall Smith, La volière (1994) Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)
July 27, 2015 Randall Smith, La volière (1994) Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)
March 2, 2020 Randall Smith, La volière (1994) Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)

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