Analysis / Thoughts

Cahier du Soir – Diary of the Evening

True or false story of Diary of the Evening  (1991 – 1992)


Suite of 20 pieces for 14 instruments, one actress and slides.

One cannot dream more unmethodical adventure than that of Diary of the Evening. Here is history:

One day a completely tainted composer had the idea to tell in music one ordinary evening.

Twenty musical pieces being portraits of passing feelings. In this case, a woman and a man live this evening like a rite and do not worry that the words, the gestures, the exchanged impressions are banal or exceptional, because there is not the question. The question is that in one evening, it can occur all that and that in the life, there is nothing exceptional that is not at the same time banal.


The first adventure was like following.

I had the idea, because this composition was presented in the form of a story, to make it tell by a writer.

This writer would come to intersperse dialogues between the pieces of music. Dialogue between a woman and a man, all that one can say of intelligent, of stupid, of remembering, anecdotes, declarations during one evening. It was my basic proposal. And the proposition comprised a rule of game consisting in writing simultaneously music and text.

And then, time passed, the texts did not come and I’d have finished soon that the writer had not started. I say to him: but then – he says to me: oh yes it is true – I say to him: but I soon finished – you go too quickly he says to me – I answered him: I am in urgency – await me he says to me – I say to him: I cannot wait.


Thus collaboration stopped. It is a true story… let’s say, almost!


And here I am with a score of 163 pages, 50 minutes of narrative music, which I wanted to confirm by the text. I still wonder if it is a good idea and yet I am sure.

The second adventure is completely different but quite as complicated.

I was, I am still in friendship with a group of instrumentalists who had met to work in a thorough way, several of my scores. When I started to compose Diary of the Evening, I thought of them.

They then constituted an ensemble inside of an associative architecture and thus the various rebels of the association started to brawl and that lasted two years. During which I could not call any more whom, what and how that is made like that.

Production, say I and say I was the third adventure.

The production, it is stupid to say, is a subject that touches with the intimacy, so much that finally all reflections made or not and all spread intuitions, I prefer not to speak about. However it is tempting because it is very interesting, revealing and, from the symbolic point of view, precisely full with symbols.

But OK, I would not write on that.

The fourth adventure however I want to speak about is following.

The adventures are superimposed layers, or covers like in winter when one is very cold. They are not successive. Fortunately, because if not ten years would have already passed.

One day, the conductor and me said ourselves: thus let us call upon a director doubled of an author, and precisely I know one, me also we say and his name is so-and-so and so-and-so. We contact them very well, they are very excited by the project and we start to speak about the stages of realization.

However, the man who was to write starts to vacillate and at the end of one year, after telephone racings worthy of the prehistory of the society of communication, there was not still a word written.

It is during a dinner at home, after a large mixture of alcohol, that the presumed author taught us, that after ten years of joint work, the two accomplices were divorcing!

But what a bad luck! Since precisely ten years I want to work with them, and at the moment when it presented well, it presented more than badly.

Why must that happen to me, and I would say, if I listened to myself that this score is wrapped in misfortune. But fortunately, I do not give up.

The fifth adventure is for the moment the last, but I do not despair.

One morning, I awoke and I said myself: but am I stupid! And here, all was solved.

While I composed, I wrote between the pieces texts, reflections, letters, memories, explanations intended for the musicians, etceteras and I left all that in the score, that formed part so much of it that I had forgotten it.

And one morning, I said myself, but am I stupid, this is exactly what I need. I said myself: these texts explain all, they explain the music, they explain the air of time, they explain the passing feelings, they explain uncertainty, they explain. Really. And I said myself: but am I stupid, there is only to read them and there will be thus a succession of texts and music saying the same thing in a splendid quasi blameless redundancy.

Then that worked in the direction music and text, but not theatre, word and music, but not oratorio, employing electricity but not technological, using the image but not multi-media… perhaps still an uncategorizable and yet completely normal thing. Narration.


If the adventures remain at this point, one can regard “Diary of the Evening” as a reading of the score, reading of an adventure, which is this score.

I told this story, in short cut, as I lived it. But is this really the true story?