Montréal, le 17 janvier 1996

T   R   A   N   S   L   A   T   I   O    N

From Mathematics
to Poetry

Mario Cloutier

Musical architecture, cathedral of resonance, sonic sculpture, wave generator, creation machine, secretor of musical minerals, sonic research laboratory, musical turtle, rhythmic cavern…? L’Espace Shruthi, which can be seen and heard from the 18th to the 28th at Théâtre la Chapelle, impresses and fascinates.

First there is the experimental music of Indian inspiration, composed by Ganesh Anandan, interpreted by the composer and Claude Lépine. But there is also the installation designed and created by Paskal Dufaux. Not to mention the scenography and the lighting of this installation-performance. Chicken or egg? Container or contents? One determines and influences the other, and vice versa. The proposal is an open one – it goes without saying that the inquisitive and receptive spectator will love this experience of “getting lost on purpose”.

“The project has taken two years from conception to construction,” says Paskal Dufaux. “the steel structure links and takes form from its structural functions and the placement and performance of the music. But more and more possibilities appear as the work takes shape.”

L’Espace Shruthi is a marriage of East and West. The gothic metal architecture is the resonance chamber of a microtonal music that explores the 22 shruthis of Indian music. These uneven intervals compose the traditional scale. Inspired by the research of American composer Harry Partch, to whom a part of the concert is dedicated, Ganesh Anandan has constructed instruments –metalophone, santoor, tubophone, gambas, bamboophone– in order to explore this Indian conception of music.

“This isn’t traditional music,” warns Anandan, “it’s percussive and polyrhythmic, as well as melodic and harmonic. The audiences’ ideal experience isn’t an intellectual one, we hope to appeal to the imagination and the emotions.”

This musical experience proceeds from precise mathematical and physical knowledge. The construction of the sculpture and instruments is based on complex calculations. The result remains open to the unexpected and has the goal of creating a maximum range of sounds and images. The metal dome is a mountain, a temple, a tree and the music that emanates from it defies categorization.

“Our proposal is poetical,” the two creators agree, “beyond the intra and extra-musical discourse, the experience we’re proposing to the public seeks to draw on the best of each of our cultures.”

A fusion of differences in metal…

“There’s a very end-of-the-century feel to our work here,” says Dufaux, “We’re going somewhere else. We don’t know where exactly, but we’re going…”

It has to be seen to be heard.