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soprano and small ensemble

Three recompositions, three radical deconstructions of the same piece: Charles Gounod’s famous Ave Maria, which itself is based on an intertext, the first Prelude of the Well-Tempered Clavier by J. S. Bach.

Each time, I present a different intertextual viewpoint. My compositional strategy is to open up several avenues of reflection on the same work, and to suggest to the listener that each of my interpretations de-stabilizes, in a way from within, Gounod’s musical intertext.

According to Jacques Derrida, deconstruction reveals the multiple layers of meaning of the work in language, it challenges the idea that a text has an immutable and unified meaning. Deconstructivist reading continually finds patterns of textual dislocation, revealing multiple perspectives of thought which cannot be unified.

The Bloomian concept of misreading is also a useful tool for understanding this work. Transposing, in the world of sound, the revisionist approaches that Harold Bloom develops in his landmark works such as The Anxiety of Influence or A Map of Misreading, the piece could be a tessera. According to Bloom, in a tessera: the poet antithetically “completes” his precursor, by so reading the parent poem as to retain its terms but meaning them in a new sense, as though the precursor had failed to go far enough.

Compositional strategies where the works of the past are revealed on multiple levels and allow for diverse readings giving rise to intentional misreadings.

The aim is to reveal hidden possibilities in these perhaps all-too-familiar compositions.