Surenchères consists of a series of musical moments that have no prior connection with one another. Their coexistence defies the most basic rules of good taste, and blocks certain instinctive auditory responses in the listener, whether he or she is a specialist or not. Through a surplus of information, the listener might well struggle to impose some kind of structure, some sense of coherence, for excess, like lack, can result in a feeling of frustration – it leaves an impression of incompleteness. But not all listeners will respond in this way. Some may choose a different approach, one that is in harmony with Merce Cunningham’s proposal:
‘Of course, the world, being what it is – or the way we are coming to understand it now – we know that each thing is also every other thing, either actually or potentially. So we don’t, it seems to me, have to worry ourselves about providing relationships and continuities and orders and structures – they cannot be avoided’ (from ‘The Impermanent Art’, 1955).
Surenchères was commissioned by Radio-Canada and premiered by the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne under the direction of Lorraine Vaillancourt in Françoys-Bernier Hall, Saint-Irénée (Canada).