Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux

Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux


stereo fixed medium (1970-71) 6.45′

Friday 8 July, 2022
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Beyond the surface meanings of language we may become aware of a world where the play of decomposition, association and juxtaposition produce an unlimited number of sounds and sonorities. A kind of verbal delirium, or vertigo. »Arksalalartôq«, based on texts by Québec poets Noël Audet and Gilles Marsolais, expresses the vertigo of words and sounds, by analogy with the Inuit game (most often played by women) in which participants test their creative and inventive powers as well as their stamina by emitting sounds most of which are meaningless. During the creation of this work, Coulombe Saint-Marcoux recognized the resistance of some sonic materials and the importance of openness for the composer. In an interview with Lyse Richer, she said that she worked for two days on a ten-second montage that refused to do what she wished. Suddenly, she decided to play it backwards, and found the result to be marvellous: »one must not be too stubborn. The material at hand has its potential at the start, and its exigencies and its limits« (Richer 1984: 22). [English translation from French: Andra McCartney]

Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux (b. 1938 in La Doré, Canada, d. 1985) was a composer and music educator. Her orchestral compositions were strongly influenced by her electroacoustic work, while her interests also included music theater and poetry. Saint-Marcoux studied at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal (CMQM), and the Conservatoire de Paris with Yvonne Hubert, Gilbert Amy, Claude Champagne, Pierre Schaeffer and others. She received numerous commissions for compositions, such as from the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. In 1967 she won the Prix d’Europe for the composition of Modulaire, a work for orchestra and Ondes Martenot. She founded the Groupe international de musique électroacoustique de Paris (1969) and, after returning to Montreal in 1971, she taught at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal where she established an electroacoustic composition studio. Saint-Marcoux died on February 2, 1985 of a brain tumor at the age of 46.

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