Departure & Channel of Flight
David Lang, Robin Rimbaud
The spatial environment created by Spalletti in the Salle des Départs has a high level of abstraction that can resonate with music. As a place of welcome, it offers a huge enclosure for sounds, which are then well able to evolve in the space and occupy it to the full. Because music can fill a void while at the same time remaining elusive, it can be in harmony with the experience undergone by all bereaved persons. Thus in the view of the patrons, Professor Michel Durigon and Dr François Paraire, a sound environment seemed likely to provide a better accompaniment and more palpable support for the bereaved. But it was fitting that it should adhere to the same frame of mind as the first intervention by an artist, and appropriate to call on contemporary composers capable of producing a specific type of music for the mortuary. Spalletti responded favourably to the musical commission, seeing it as a gift.
Each of the artists composed a piece lasting fifteen to twenty minutes, recorded directly on to tape. At the same time the Salle des Départs was fitted with equipment allowing multicasting, with four loudspeakers. Breaking away from the requiem form to offer secular compositions was crucial to the frame of mind behind this commission.
David Lang & Robin Rimbaud
The mediator introduced the patrons to contemporary musical works through letting them listen to selected extracts. David Lang and Robin Rimbaud immediately struck them as the right artists. It was in fact appropriate to select at least two composers, so as to be able to allow the bereaved to choose the sound environment they wished for: perhaps one or other of the two musicians, but also possibly silence, or music brought along personally by the bereaved. The musicians chosen submitted creative works that belong to two distinct musical spheres. Robin Rimbaud, a young English DJ better known by the name Scanner, quickly engaged in experimental electronic music through collages of concrete sounds. David Lang, who started off as a member of a rock-and-roll group, is now involved in the field of contemporary music. The mediator guided the commission by suggesting to the patrons a composition by Lang for cellos and voice, which seemed right to her in relation to the intended purpose of the musical piece. The two artists reacted favourably to the mediator's suggestions, both responsive to the project as a result of their personal experience of the loss of someone close.