The first territorial map? The Saint-Bélec engraved slab was unearthed by Paul du Chatellier in 1900 in an Early Bronze Age burial mound in Leuhan, Finistère. Almost forgotten, it was recently rediscovered in the cellars of the Musée d’Archéologie Nationale in Saint-Germainen-Laye, and is now the subject of a new study. The repeated motifs, lines and numerous cupules that cover it resemble a cartographic layout.
Several engraved motifs evoke well-known structures (enclosure, burial mound system, road). Finally, the deliberately modified surface contours
seem to suggest the topography of the surrounding relief.
I was inspired by this discovery to write – especially for MAN, as part of Ensemble Calliopée’s residency – a musical work that follows the path of the stone.
Ar Men (the stone or pebble in Breton), as it is called, is a piece for solo viola dedicated to Karine Lethiec, the ensemble’s director. This eversearching artist often offers composers rare settings for inspiration, and guided me to this slab engraved, with the MAN team, in the basement of the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Firstly, because the idea of cartography it might represent gave me the opportunity to write a work «like a journey in several stages»; and secondly, because, as a Finistère native, I have a particular affinity for these landscapes and this geography. Inspiration, both sensory and organic, even mineral, led me to write a 12-minute work in which each of the five movements represents a place:
1. Krugell (the tumulus)
2. Hent (the road)
3. Menez du (the Black Mountains)
4. Landudal (Landudal and its massif)
5. Oded (l’Odet, the river)
Starting at the top and moving towards the liquid element, this circular journey allows the sign of the stone to join that of the score. The geographical map is transformed into a musical journey through time.
Symbol, History, Transmission…
|Dimensions||32 × 24 × 0,3 cm|