l'oiseau chante avec ses doigts - for ten-string classical guitar
The title comes from Jean Cocteau's film Orphee. Orpheus, a poet now past his prime, takes dictation of poetic lines from his car radio, which tunes in to the voice of the popular young poet killed near the start of the film. "The bird sings with its fingers" just sounded like a piece for guitar.
This is a Sibelius "mock-up" of the piece, which is to be recorded in the next year or so by Swedish virtuoso guitarist Stefan Ostersjo.
The piece is intended to serve as the "overture" to an opera based on classical mythology and sound recording, provisionally entitled Great Parisian Modernists. The basic idea is that the mythologies of Orpheus and Euridice, and Theseus, Ariadne and the Minotaure can be understood as prefigurations of sound recording. Sound recordings bring the voice back to life, but also, in separating it from the body kill it. The spiral grooves in a vinyl disc repeat the pathways into and out of Hades, and the corridors of the Minotaure's labyrinth. At the heart of Hades is the revivification of Euridice, at the heart of the labyrinth is death by the Minotaure. But both places are sites of failure - Euridice does not return to life, and it is the Minotaure that is killed, not Theseus.
The mythological figures associated with individual modernist artists in Paris are as follows: Jean Cocteau took Orpheus as an alter ego; Giorgio de Chirico was fascinated with the subject of Ariadne abandoned; Picasso regularly presented himself as a sort of minotaure and painted, sculpted, and drew many versions of the creature. Throughout the final version of the whole opera is a ritornello, in the sense that Monteverdi might have understood it, in which Sisyphus and the futility of human striving serve as the mythological figure, bringing Albert Camus into the picture alongside the other Great Parisian Modernists.