baritone (crotales) and piano

Premiere: February 22, 2013, Montréal / Nouvelles Musiques 2013: Rosarium, Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, Montréal (Québec)

Among the often enigmatic notions elaborated by Jacques Lacan during his seminar, we find “le grand autre” and “l’objet petit a”. “Le grand autre” corresponds to a radical otherness, inscribed in a symbolic network, outside the subject and yet acting within it, often unbeknownst to it (a religious dogma, for example, or a totalitarian regime). “Le grand autre” is linked to authority and to our end. Thus, some people consider death as the ultimate “grand autre”. As for the “objet petit a”, it is the causal object of desire. The feeling of incompleteness, of lacking something, is a gaping hole in the pit of which the “objet petit a” draws its impulse toward a “plus-de-jouir”. A psychoanalyst, Lacan was eager for words welling up from the pure impulse, without a rational filter. Thus, turning Descartes on his head, he coined this maxim: “Where there is thought, I am not present”. This is why he liked the words of the mystics so much, in particular those of Thérèse d’Avila. In her poetry, she sometimes directly addressed death, which seemed to correspond much more for her to the “objet petit a” than to that of the “grand autre”. She called death (almost familiarly), and desired it as a mediation toward an elsewhere more vast, more free. Lacan and Thérèse d’Avila are for me fascinating characters to be put mutually in perspective, especially when the scene of this meeting is the voice of Vincent Ranallo, whose baritone register and remarkable falsetto are, in themselves, an organic duality. It is in this spirit of metaphysical paradoxes and enigmas that I conceived the text and composed the music of this piece, meditative and concise.