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L’œil écoute

(The eye listens) (2009)

Instrumentation:  for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion; a work for film/digitally created images with live music in collaboration with Montreal visual artist Jean Detheux. The work may be performed with or without film.






Images: Jean Detheux

Music: Pierre Jalbert


Duration: 12 minutes


World Premiere:  Commissioned by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Kevin Noe, conductor, on a grant from Chamber Music America, and premiered on July 10 and 11, 2009, Pittsburgh, PA.


Program Notes:

L’œil écoute is a collaborative work of art created by Montreal filmmaker Jean Detheux (images) and Pierre Jalbert (music). Detheux first made a silent film, trying to give it a time structure he hoped would be compatible with music, and Jalbert composed the music by relentlessly looking at the silent images. The work is in three contrasting movements (fast-slow-fast), with movements I and III serving as a short prelude and postlude, and the second movement serving as the central, longest, and most intricate of the piece. All of the images are abstract and colorful (like an abstract painting that moves through time) and are infused with a “grainy” characteristic. Detheux was inspired by some graffiti he saw in Montreal, painted on an uneven surface, which gave this grain-like characteristic. The idea is for the music and film to merge into a single entity, where one complements and enlivens the other.


-- Pierre Jalbert



About Jean Detheux

Belgian-Canadian artist Jean Detheux creates exquisite, rapturous digital paintings and otherworldly videos. For over thirty years he worked in natural media, but he made the transition to digital media when he found that the materials he used were causing severe allergic reactions. His experience with natural media paved the way for his digital work. Jean is involved in the Film Board of Canada and is frequently invited to show his animations and lecture at film festivals throughout the world. He currently resides in Montreal. He has taught art at many Canadian and U.S. schools and has exhibited his natural media work (drawings and paintings) on three continents (his works are in public and private collections in several countries). He frequently collaborates with composers and presents “Visual Music”, a combination of music with images. He describes his style as: 2D animation without a story board, without a story line, without characters, very much along the lines of (digital) "abstract expressionism."


© 2016 Pierre Jalbert, L’œil écoute (The eye listens)

Photo:  Julia Jalbert

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