‘J’emploie les mots que tu m’as appris’ is a duet for viola and electronics. It was written for and dedicated to violist and fellow composer Adam Sangster, for whose time, dedication, and openness to new ideas I am extremely grateful. The piece is a development of the idea of the ever-approaching terminus in 826 Harry Cowley: an inevitable turning point that nonetheless can be encouraged or resisted. Unlike that found 826 Harry Cowley, in ‘J’emploie les mots que tu m’as appris,’ the terminus here is reoccurring and evolutionary in nature. It is a duet not simply in the sense that there are two sources of sound on the stage, but also in the sense that the electronics and the performer listen and respond to each other intently, pushing and pulling each other in various directions throughout the course of the piece.
The title is a quote taken from the Samuel Beckett’s Fin de Partie, which translates to ‘I use the words you taught me,’ and is part of a dialogue between two interdependent characters caught in an uneventful post-apocolyptic scenario that never seems to end.
Recording, as performed by Adam Sangster: