• Category / Instrument
    Soprano, contralto and instrumental ensemble
    1(flA&picc).1(ca).1(clB).1(Cbn) / / 3perc / / hp /
  • Duration
  • Commissioned by
    Ville de Gen├Ęve
  • Dedication
    for Pia
  • Published
  • Premiere
    Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany) , Staatliche Hochschule f├╝r Musik
    Julia Mende (soprano), Maria Dries (alto)
    Institut f├╝r Neue Musik Ensemble, Ingo Metzmacher (conductor)


Michael Jarrell's works are published by Editions Henry Lemoine :

27, boulevard Beaumarchais
75004 PARIS
Tel. : +33 (0)1 56 68 86 74




A "trace" is the visible sign that remains of an object now absent, but which was present. The "├ęcart" (gap) could be seen as the time difference between the first supposed experience of this object and its repetition. Between the trace and the gap, itself a palindrome full of meaning, Michael Jarrell's piece weaves its way by means of returning, repeating, leaving and forgetting. The orchestration also corresponds to the demands of the asynchronous copy, of the "broken mirror" which binds the score and the scoring, namely a double ensemble of eight instruments (woodwind, brass and strings), two female voices (soprano and contralto) and three percussionists. The text is based on the statement of Jo├źl Pasquier's two poems "Trace" and "Ecart" which are sung by the soprano and alto respectively. The words are broken up, and one vocal path intertwines with the other they are enriched by quotations from earlier writings, "Trace" and "├ëcart" by Georges Perec. The work is formed of two "veils" separated by a central section, a sort of "memory blank" which swallows up sounds in a long flowing stream ("Try to penetrate the sounds gently"), before disappearing for two bars which are geographically centrally placed. In bridging the "gap" from one veil to the other the music succeeds in returning to the "trace" (the origin), as well as in forgetting. These two words finally intermingle their differences at the end of the piece. The "├ęcart" or gap may be that place - central and "empty" - where the work takes form.

Peter Szendy,
translated by Mary Criswick


1 CD Accord, 461 764-2
Trei II - Modifications - Eco - Trace-Ecart
Ensemble Contrechamps, G. Bernasconi

Trace-Ecart ist ein Auftragswerk der Stadt Genf und wurde am 15. Dezember 1984 in Freiburg im Breisgau vom Ensemble des Institutes f├╝r Neue Musik unter der Leitung von Ingo Metzmacher und mit den Solisten Julia Mende und Maria Dries uraufgef├╝hrt. Diesem St├╝ck liegt ein Gedicht von Jo├źl Pasquier zugrunde, das aus zwei Teilen - Trace und Ecart - (Spur und Abstand) besteht, die auf formater und struktureller Ebene zusammen ein Palindrom bilden. Die Alt -, beziehungsweise die Sopranstimme singen jeweils einen Teil. Bei der Aufteilung des Orchesters - zwei Ensembles sitzen auf der B├╝hne symmetrisch gegen├╝ber - wurde ebenfalls dieser Forderung nach Doppelseitigkeit entsprochen und somit das reine Palindrom des Titels symbolisiert.

Michael Jarrell

Works index
© Michael Jarrell