Music Musicology Poetry Gallery

La forĂȘt enchantée
Needham Series
1987; 8:31 min.


La foret enchantée is a musical narrative in three parts nourished by ever modified recurring motives. Their sequence gives the impression of a journey that sometimes stops and is taken up again, in a land of the imagination. In its through-composed flow, the work strives to tell the story of an adolescent boy, the Grand Meaulnes, hero of Alain Fournier's 1913 novel of the same name. The boy experiences the landscape around Bourges as a counterpart to his adventurous and conflicted budding self. In particular, a house in the woods near Bourges that he visits seems to be enchanted by the presence of a lovely young woman. Even today, when hearing certain passages of the work, I "see" the sun-lit towers of the Bourges cathedral as they appeared to me during my residence at the Groupe de Musique Experimentale de Bourges (GMEB).

Technically, La foret enchantée is based on a computer-generated score issuing from Koenig's Project One program, sounded by digital instruments from my DMX-1000 orchestra library. The harmony follows a microtonal progression varying between a nine- and twelve-tone scale, for the purpose of simulating the maze-like structure of the enchanted wood. Between 8 and 16 voices are heard, all of them orchestral variants of one and the same four-part score.

The work was commissioned by GMEB and is dedicated to it, especially to Francoise Barrière, Christian Clozier, und to Jean Holleville whose technical expertise in sound synthesis was of great assistance to me during the production of this piece. The composition's theme a contribution to the topic les bois et les forêts . I also want to thank Curtis Roads for his post-production assistance.

Performances include the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston (1987), Groupe de Musique Experimentale de Bourges (1987), New England Conservatory, Boston (1988), 1989 Arts & Technology Symposium, Connecticut College, New London CT, University of New York at Buffalo (1989), and American Society of University Composers (1989).