6 invented instruments

Premiere: February 28, 2005, Montréal / Nouvelles Musiques 2005: Quasar + Totem contemporain, Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Montréal (Québec)

Starting from “almost nothing”, to build a “totality”; by freeing a place of what inhabits it, to reveal its grandeur; by framing emptiness, to give meaning to it. Using very limited technical means, Jean-François Laporte gives praise, in La plenitude du vide, to the grandeur of the “small”, the richness of the “simple”—some copper and aluminum tubes, saxophone mouthpieces, latex membranes and two baritone saxophones (with all their keys kept shut), all in a continuous discourse where the predominating unisons, are richly colored with timbres, harmonics and naturally occurring beats. Yet, from this extremely rudimentary material, this melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, instrumental and formal “near-nothing”, a large-scale opus takes shape, which gradually and naturally occupies the performance space in all its grandeur. Could the simplest sound possibly animate a space this vast? Sound-space and architectural space together offer us a glance at a particular trait of their relationship—sound seems to have the ability to reveal the physical space it occupies, instead of filling it. The emptiness remains but it appears surprisingly full.

Jean-François Laporte, here, as in all his works, presents a “musique de matière” that lets sound evolve naturally, guided by the musicians’ attentive breath. The apparent simplicity of the piece’s global discourse is backed by an extreme complexity of timbres and modes of playing. The performers face a worthy challenge, as they have to put aside physical virtuosity (finger dexterity) in favor of a listening virtuosity—to apprehend and then guide the evolution of sound from the subtleties of breath. A void is made; a new time/space is created, entirely available for the deployment of sound. (Translation: M. Ouellet)

La plenitude du Vide was made possible thanks to the collaboration of the Quasar saxophone quartet.