Willem Boogman




Henri Meschonnic


23 minutes


SSATB (solo)
percussion, clarinet, piano

commissioned by

Klangforum Heidelberg

dedicated to

Walter Nußbaum


September 16, 2012
Hebelhalle, Heidelberg (D)
SCHOLA HEIDELBERG & ensemble aisthesis
Heike Heilmann - soprano solo (I)
Eva Fodor - conductor

Nous le chant I & II

(la voix dans la voix)
transitional music for midnight from the cycle Day Daily
for voices and instruments (2009)


Nous le chant I (mp3)

Nous le chant

Being on the move in music, alone, together or in groups is the common subject of Nous le chant I, II & III

program note | toelichting (NL)

Nous le chant I & II (la voix dans la voix) from the cycle entitled Day Daily

Nous le chant [»We the singing«] I & II with the subtitle »la voix dans la voix« [»the voice within the voice«] make up the midnight music from the Day Daily cycle, in which the four transitional moments in the day – morning, afternoon, evening and midnight – are portrayed in four different scorings, joined together by Day Daily - The Hours: 20 one-minute pieces representing the hours of the day.

The poems are taken from the collection entitled Nous le passage [»We the passage«] by the French poet Henri Meschonnic (1932-2009).
My thanks go once again to Chris Bremmers, who drew my attention to this collection, and without whose inspiring thoughts about ›the day‹ this entire cycle would never have been created.

Nous le chant I & II were composed at the request of Walter Nußbaum, conductor of SCHOLA HEIDELBERG and ensemble aesthesis, the choir and ensemble of Klangforum Heidelberg (Germany).

Nous le chant I (»aujourd’hui nous«) is composed for soprano and three instrumentalists. This section functions as a bridge – or ›passage‹ – between the ›hours of the day‹ and the midnight music.
score sample

Nous le chant II (»on s’entend c’est la lumière«) consists of three sections in which the poem is set to music in three different ways:
- section A for five singers interspersed with percussion, clarinet and piano;
score sample
- section B for the instrumental trio interspersed with contributions from the vocal quintet;
score sample
- section C for five singers and instrumental trio. The sound moves constantly between the voices and the instruments.
score sample

An five-part arpeggiated chord sounds on every vowel in the text, being derived from the vowel’s formant spectrum. To achieve this I sang on the note ›E‹ each vowel in the text, together with the preceding consonant where applicable, and had the result analysed by the ›Praat‹ programme. This resulted in five formant frequencies per vowel. These tones were then transposed so as to come within the range of the voices and instruments. I then established, by means of permutation, the order in which the notes should sound. Finally, the assignment of entries to singers and instruments was fixed, also by means of permutation. In this way the order in which they enter is never the same twice.
During the final stage I also laid down the speed of the entries.

With my use of formant spectra in this way I am not claiming that the various vowels will be distinguishable in the music, since that would be to no avail. I have done this solely out of curiosity about these constellations of tones, which are characterized by a specific structure and which I could never have devised in any other way.

(Translation: Robert Coupe)

Day Daily – the cycle

The cycle Day Daily forms a network of compositions and sub-cycles such as Nous le chant and Day Daily – The Hours.
Day Daily consists of four sections composed for the transitional moments in the day: midnight (Nous le chant I & II,) the break of day (De dag daagt for organ,) midday (One Noon for six percussionists) and nightfall (»wonen is het Westen« for small ensemble.)
These transitional moments are bound together by twenty short one-minute pieces from the cycle Day Daily - The Hours. Together these represent the twenty-four hours of the day.
All the sections may be performed separately.

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