In the spring of 2004, Peter Schubert proposed that I compose a work for the vocal ensemble Viva Voce, of which he is the artistic director. It was to be premiered at a concert devoted to music written specially for Renaissance princes. I asked Nathalie Mamias, a friend and writer, for a text that would decisively tie my work to this theme. She sent me a prose poem that captured, with humour-tinged virtuosity, the essential aspects of Machiavelli’s celebrated work The Prince.

While privileging a traditional approach to writing for the voice, I allowed myself to appeal to certain effects such as “holes” in the texture, created by inserting whispered or spoken syllables, or a discrete colouration of certain phonemes obtained by having the vowels i-o-u vocalized parallel to the sung text.

Commissioned by Conseil des Arts du Canada, for Viva Voce

Isabelle Panneton [ii-07]

Performance