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For Quartet / Nordic Affect


Index for string trio and harp­si­chord is part of a body of com­po­si­tions based on scripts of films that have not (or not yet) been made. Commissioned by Transit festival. 

The start­ing point for this piece was Signe par­ti­c­uli­er: néant by Georges Perec, the syn­op­sis of a film that was nev­er made. A sin­gu­lar char­ac­ter­is­tic of Perec’s work is that he chose a lim­i­ta­tion or con­straint as a defin­ing con­cept for the form. He became infa­mous for writ­ing a 300-page nov­el with­out using the let­ter E (La Disparition, 1969). Signe par­ti­c­uli­er: Néant is an equiv­a­lent of the same idea for film. Its lim­i­ta­tion is that no faces are shown – a rejec­tion of an essen­tial ele­ment in film. A list of pos­si­ble scenes that sat­is­fy this con­straint shows the ideas that Perec was col­lect­ing of ways to not reveal faces on screen: a scene shot from a long dis­tance, by night, in a sauna, bee­keep­ers, char­ac­ters caught in a sand­storm, as shad­ows, out-of-focus images, a com­man­do unit by night with cam­ou­flaged faces, etc. For Perec, draw­ing up a list, sum­ma­ry, or Index was often the foun­da­tion of his writing.

In writ­ing this com­po­si­tion, the most impor­tant ques­tion was what con­straint would be strong enough to deter­mine its form and mate­r­i­al. Not allow­ing inter­vals greater than a whole tone turned out to entail a con­vinc­ing for­mal lim­i­ta­tion that results in par­tic­u­lar mate­r­i­al*. What kind of music is pos­si­ble if such an essen­tial ele­ment is denied? 

trans­la­tion: Anne Hodgkinson

* Exceptions allowed on pecu­liar moments



  • Commissioned by
    Transit New Music Festival
  • Performers quartet
    Nordic Affect
  • Performers trio
    Frederik Leroux, Elisabeth Klinck and Heleen Van Haegenborgh
  • Transation list of georges perec
    Rokus Hofstede
  • Première
    October 22, 2017

Nordic Affect

List of Perec Translated by Rokus Hofstede

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