Les cris du C..

5 solo male voices a cappella
(Market stalls, Homage, A learning experience)
Duration : 8’
Commissioned by the Péniche-Opéra
Clément Janequin Ensemble conducted by Dominique Visse

5 solo male voices a cappella

1 – Etalages (Market stalls)

2 – Hommage

3 – Apprentissage  (A learning experience)

The cries of the C.. were written for the Clément Janequin Ensemble and its programme of « erotic cries ». At the present time, it is a cycle of three short songs, but which will surely become longer. There is an abundance of literature devoted to the subject and numerous gems where it would be indecent to leave them naked and which are crying out to be clad in some suitable musical « lingerie ».

I entitled the first song Etalages (Market stalls), a title which seems to be of a more suggestive elegance than that of Charles Collé’s (18th century): The cunt’s tradeswoman; even if Collé, to his merit, leaves us in no doubt at all about the subject matter. The work is interpreted through the shouts in the market, with jeering and taunting at the customer’s address – provoking somewhat of a discrepancy if we consider the goods on offer.

I chose the name Hommage for the second song written on a poem by Theophile Gautier (19th Century): Death, the apparition and the funeral of Captain Morpion. There, the irony lies in the way in which the author writes this sketch with obvious allusions to Shakespeare; a frenzied battle between fleas and pubic lice on the mound we suppose, the captain killed whose spectre then re-appears to haunt his soldiers, the solemn funeral ceremony and the  last homage … A godsend for a composer: watch the drama unfold !

Joseph Vasselier (18th century) is the author of the mischievous text Education that I renamed Apprentissage (A learning experience) for obvious reasons of assonance with the other titles in the cycle. A father gives some money to his young son so that he can be initiated to the pleasures of love by a professional. The boy tells his grandmother, who, for reasons of thrift will find a better solution… don’t let us reveal any more! As Alfred Hitchcock once said after Sean Connery’s and Tippi Hedren’s passionate kiss in the trailor for his film «Marnie »: if you want more, go and buy your ticket!

As for the «C..» in the general title, let the enigma be revealed immediately: the note «C» is the pivot for all pieces. More often than not, it is used in repeated notes, represented here by two small dots… no need to look any further!