Presque Rien avec Instruments  (April 2001 – November 2001)

Almost Nothing with Instruments — Exploitation of the concepts No. 5

For 15 amplified instruments and memorized sounds

(Flute, oboe, clarinet, low clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, piano, percussion, 2 violins, viola, violoncello, double bass)

This composition is built like a “Presque Rien” and is thus in the continuity of this concept.

But here the concern is an abstract work – opposite to the other “Presque Rien” which all are more or less direct narrations of a reality apprehended by recording. Abstract is the use of the instruments, abstract are the memorized sounds playing with the orchestra.

However there remains an allusion to the narration, in the sense where the course of the score is played in a narrative, even abstract spirit. Indeed, the course of time proposes a particular process of listening, in the sense where it is voluntarily and linearly obstinate.


In accordance with the starting idea of Presque Rien, the Memorized Sounds playing with the orchestra were recorded in one only time and in one only place. I say that so because I always explain that the initial concept for Presque Rien is precisely “unit of time and place”.

I thus gathered around me two people. So we were three composers: Noel Akchoté, Roland Auzé and me, and we were given some rules of game:

– as little instrumental recognition as possible

– to play in a microphonic space

– to hold a microphone in hand to make closes-up


Lastly, to play in a “minimalist” spirit in the sense of maximum discretion.

It was also said that the recording would be a plan sequence, that it would not be either cut or transformed, that is what I did not make (I neither cut nor transformed).


Recording was made in one single place.

Studio John Cage de la Muse en Circuit

Sound Engineering and Mix, Christophe Hauser