To remember… as the great poetess descended from the Creeks of Oklahoma, Joy Harjo, proposes. To remember in particular that each being belongs in the Universe, and that the Universe is in each being. To remember, as Edgar Morin also reminds us, the human trinity that defines us as human beings: species-society-individual. And to also remember the marginalised people of society so accurately painted by Robert Guinan.
Remember therefore resonates with the American theme that guides the last weekend of the Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo. This creation is a pedagogical piece that brings together primary and secondary school classes with a quartet of professional musicians composed of a piano, a trumpet, a trombone and a flute. In addition, the piece includes a quadraphonic electronic diffusion enabling an immersive listening experience.
The eight movements that make up the work result from my research work freely inspired by the fascinating encyclopaedia Musiques directed by Jean-Jacques Nattiez (Actes Sud). Each movement thus deals with one of the various main functions of Music and implies its own listening mode. These eight functions are the following: environment, dance, game, therapy, message, trance, art, spirituality.
The sound work is inspired by all the creative advances in contemporary music since 1945, an incredibly rich musical era. In addition to Joy Harjo and Robert Guinan, I used excerpts from Maya Angelou’s beautiful collection of poems And Still I Rise. Besides the intrinsic beauty of her poetry, it should inspire children to look to the future with strength despite recurring crises. This is the challenge of this piece: to provide some pointers in order to perhaps better listen to the World.
The last movement includes excerpts from a recording of Joy Harjo reading her own poem “Remember” (1983). The poems recited by the children are taken from the bilingual edition of Maya Angelou’s collection, And Still I Rise, translated into French by Santiago Artozqui (Paris, Seghers, 2022)
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainly of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Tout comme les lunes et les soleils,
Aussi sûre que les marées,
Tel un espoir qui se réveille,
Toujours, je m’élèverai.
Mary Angelou, And Still I Rise (excerpt)