I keep light
for soprano, flute and piano (2008 – 2009)
Portrait d'Isaac Newton

Duration: 13 min.

I keep the subject of my inquiry constantly before me, and wait till the first dawning opens gradually, by little and little, into a full and clear light.

This quotation from Isaac Newton (1643-1727), probably apocryphal, gives to this trio for voice, flute and piano, its title, its form and still refers to the modus operandi of the composer. The work never abandons its creator, neither his mind nor the score, until it finds its conclusion. Is it the same light that Newton allows to scientific research and where the inquiry goes when it comes to music?

The answer is strictly musical and concerns the form of the piece : to become clear. At first, music is, that is to say it’s bounded, by writing, in time and space. It becomes only in two circumstances: when the composer conceives it and, later and repeatedly, when it summons the instrumental and sound phenomenon. To share, during the time of a performance, an experience which comes from a simple and persistent thought, as does an aphorism in literature or philosophy.

In I keep light, the form is thus given in a repetitive way, instead of only appearing at the end. The same phrase, the same « micro-form », easily recognizable at listening, is realized in multiple possibilities. The final work, the « macro-form » doesn’t exist beyond the superposition of those different realisations. One clearly perceives several possibilities of a unique subject but can only memorize the essential: its « clearness » – so its form.


May 7th 2009 by Géraldine Keller (soprano), Sophie Dardeau (flute) and Catherine Chaufard (Piano) at the Auditorium du Conservatoire de Nancy, France

I keep light – Extract n°1
I keep light – Extract n°2
I keep light – Extract n°3