Robert Normandeau

L’engloutissement has been performed in Blacksburg and Brussels…

To Trudy Crane

The title L’engloutissement [The Engulfment] came to me from reading Francisco Goldman’s book Say Her Name, read in Mexico where the book largely unfolds. The story, about the death of his young wife on the seashore, sent me back to a personal event in the summer of 2012 where, although an excellent swimmer, I almost drowned. The engulfment relates to how I felt in the water, much like a prisoner, an experience I never had and which, curiously, was free from the fear that one can imagine in such circumstances. I managed to get out of it safe and sound.

The only sound treatment used here was the extreme slow motion. It is a tribute to the American artist Bill Viola, whose retrospective viewed at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2014 deeply touched me.

L’engloutissement is an immersive work intended to be played in a dome of loudspeakers.


L’engloutissement was realized in 2013 at the Centro Mexicano para la Música y Artes Sonoras (CMMAS) in Morelia (Mexico) and the Laboratorio Arcis Informatica Musical (LAIM) in Santiago (Chile) in 2013 and was finished in 2017 at the composer’s studio in Montréal (Québec). The work was premiered on November 11, 2017 during the L’Espace du son festival at Théâtre Marni in Brussels (Belgium). The work has been completely reworked in the summer of 2019. Thanks to Rodrigo Sigal and Federico Schumacher Ratti.


  • November 11, 2017, L’Espace du son 2017: Solo de Robert Normandeau, Théâtre Marni, Brussels (Belgium)
  • October 17, 2019, Premiere of the 2019 version: VCCA Residency Concert, The Cube — Moss Arts Center — Virginia Tech, Blacksburg (Virginia, USA)


L’engloutissement (2013-17, 19), 16:30
multichannel fixed medium