Année de composition
12 minutes
Voice and instruments
Bass and instrumental ensemble [5 musicians] : 2 saxophones (viola and baritone), double bassoon, double bass and percussion

Yamaon features a character (Yamaon) who “prophesies to the people the conquest and destruction of the city of Ur” (an ancient Mesopotamian city) during three movements. The premiere took place in Strasbourg, thirty years after the composition, the same year the composer died. Like Edgar Varèse’s Ecuatorial (1934), Yamaon uses a palette of vowels, consonants and syllables deprived of semantic context. Reinforced by the dark color and the peremptory tone of the male voice, the impact of the accents of the invented language and their various corollary resonances take on the value of an expression that is both cathartic and laudatory, the low instruments reflecting like a shadow the heterogeneous character of the energy of the lyrico-prophetic discourse.

Enigmatic, the phonemes seem to come from some breviary disappeared since ages. Thus, by the use of oral signs used a priori for their strict sound coloration and for their own expressivity, Scelsi is in line with the spirit of the Veda (the legendary Vedic prayers conveying sacred texts, stemming from a pre-Hindu religious expression).


Pierre-Albert Castanet

Création mondiale
September 20th, 1988 | Festival Musica | Strasbourg, France

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