Le son d'une voix - François-Bernard Mâche

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The sound of a voice is richer and truer than what that voice says. Here, it is the voice of Paul Éluard in Poésie ininterrompue II, which I have turned away from the poetry, attempting to make him confess a music that has since become more mine than his. Just as I did in 1959 with Sappho (Safous mélé) and in 1962 with Seferis (La peau du silence), I have thus chosen as model a spoken text whose sound qualities only—i.e., with the exclusion of the verbal meaning—supply an excuse for a differently faithful instrumental transcription. I have used sonograms to analyse the minutest articulations of the voice. 

Stemming from my conviction that music is more than a “language,” and driven by my desire to exorcise the old metaphor of “musical language,” linked to an abusive humanism, I have operated a total anamorphosis of the text, setting it literally “to music” so that nothing poetic—in the technical sense of the word—remains. 

Le son d’une voix, first performed in Warsaw in 1964 by Konstantin Simonovic, is a brief essay that belongs more generally to my research driven by a conviction that the deepest sense of music is to map the entire sound reality. The most beautiful human language—here, that of Éluard—thus belongs amongst all other sounds of nature and nothing more. 

Published by Éditions Durand, the work has a duration of ca. 8 minutes. 

François-Bernard Mâche