A railway rite
artistic direction : Pierre Sauvageot
musical arrangement : Lionel Kasparian
texts : Blaise Cendrars
point(s) of view : Jany Jérémie
Who has never taken the time, one lonely day, to stroll around a station concourse with no train to catch, with no specific design, with nothing else to do but watch the arrivals and departures, the farewells and reunions, the comings and goings?
Then, to better experience the passing of time, you take a seat and take your time, letting your eyes roam wherever, focusing on the polyphony of noises, the exclamations, the telephone monologues, the announcements lost in their own echoes, the known and unknown languages which sound like so many instrumentalists of a railway orchestra.
This mechanical station ballet, a monument of the industrial era, already has its emblematic musical work. Let us take The Rite of Spring, putting to one side its tale of Russian legends and Slavonic mystique and taking it for what it is: the absolute perfection of the mechanism of tone and tempo, an allegory in sound which in 1913 prefigured the chaos of Great War to come.
Igor off the rails, retains the construction, the score, the dynamics of the original Rite of spring. To better hear it and to better make it heard, we erase the sounds of the symphonic orchestra by a multitude of sounds: this Rite 2013 calls on the very sounds which fill this station concourse – the screeching of brakes, the announcements of the loudspeakers, the murmur of voices, the movement of the bogies, the audible colours of the concourse, the radiophonic frequencies of the land through which the trains have travelled, the connecting boats, the birds flying in the wake the movement like so many dispatch riders.
Stravinsky, who created such a scandal in his own time, would forgive us this sacrilege as he would recognise in it the homage – because in this game of re-creation, he alone was up to the challenge.
For this railway symphony to be heard, the listener must be placed in situ. Both here and elsewhere, present and absent, sitting, in groups, looking into the distance towards the trains pulling in and those that aren’t, ears wrapped in headphones which play the new Rite mixed with the station sounds.
Amidst the travellers, our listeners are foreign bodies, almost nuisances, who come to listen to the world symphony which could not be heard elsewhere.
34 minutes, said Igor, 34 minutes for a stationary journey, weightlessly watching and listening to the world. 34 minutes to experience together a convoy of sound leaving every hour with 100, 200, 300 people aboard for this sidestep, this suspended time.
Production: Lieux publics - national creation centre with Marseille-Provence 2013, European capital of culture, the Terschellings Oerol Festival (NL), the La Strada Festival, Graz (AT) and the IN SITU network, in the frame of the META project, supported by the European Commission (DGEAC – Culture programme).