Commissioned by the Région Midi Pyrénées

  • cym/str+db
  • tenor
  • 50 min

Programme Note


Based on an idea by Alem Surre Garcia

In the din of war, a "sleeper" awakes.
They all chase him, track him down, take him for a madman.
He moves forward against wind and tide and swims against the stream,
Like Arnaut who amassed wind...

Demèst trucs e patacs de guerra, un "dormèire" se desperta.
E totes de lo persègre, de l'assecutar, de lo prene per un caluc.
E el d'avançar contra suberna e de nadar a contra-riu,
Coma l'Arnaut qu'amassava l'aura...

Like an anecdote, the synopsis contains a clue that connects all the poems.
The twelve sections are stations, the large form being divided into 4 movements: the texts of Contra Suberna - initially distant in space and time - share the fluidity of the musical texture and, while clashing or responding to each other, they establish new ties between the different langue d'oc dialects.
And all this converses with another language, which is unexpected and unheard of, that of the contemporary double bass and its manifold syntagms.
Not to forget the cimbalom - that timeless instrument - and the chamber orchestra, which are supposed, each one according to its own grammar, to show their virtuosity so as to assure the musical unity of the work.
Thus, the vocabulary of Contra Suberna is rich and diverse, and although its articulation is complex, it constantly aims at an eloquence to be shared.

© Gualtiero Dazzi

Contra Suberna

12 sections

* A flood of hail and fire, such is war and its dominion.
It is but a matter of wounds and blows.

* Man has released the war robots on an ageless evening.

* A pleasing storm laps over our heads.

* (The true darkness of our legend to be hushed up between two words)

* Love has seized hold of us as poison in sap.

* Arnaut is sleeping. Nothingness is always watched...

* Would memory not be that stone of light placed on dreams?

* The rain that swept down upon the city made all men mad. Except for Arnaut who hardly awakes. He is chased, tracked down and taken for the only madman in the world.

* For he who rides time, the journey is always motionless.

* And very strong is the desire to be sure that the islands are but the emergence of a sunken (or denied) land.

* Arnaut is that grain that shatters the stack.

* Arnaut harvests wind and swims against the stream.