CAMPION EDMUND – Ondoyants et divers

Creation : 26 november 2005
Music and conception : Edmund Campion
Number of musicians : 6 percussionists
Duration : 15′
Publisher : Billaudot

Ondoyants et Divers is a piece concerned with total cooperation, a practice that can lead, on one hand, toward militarism, and on the other hand, toward a balanced, healthy community. The piece calls for five non-pitched percussion instruments per musician: one skin, one wood, one metal, one pitched metal, and one auxiliary. The music depends collectively on the six musicians at all times. To remove one part is to destroy the whole. Ondoyants et Divers depends on space and physical placement of the musicians. The composite sound of the six musicians creates an invisible 7th player, a musical part which dances above and between the six musicians. The focus is on the players and not the timbres, it is a concerto for six.

The words of the title originate with one of the essays (27/book I) of the French writer Montaigne « on friendship. » Before I discovered the origin, I heard the phrase Ondoyants et Divers used in several different places and under different circumstances. I heard a scientist describe the universe as Ondoyants et Divers. I heard a sociologist describe human behavior as Ondoyants et Divers. All of this has nothing whatsoever to do with how Montaigne himself used the words in his essay, nor the subject of the essay itself. The words of Montaigne have catapulted away from his essay and have taken on a life beyond their original intent. I have used these words as a title for a piece of music because they are evocative of my musical goals, not as a reference or homage to Montaigne .

The piece was commissioned by the Percussion de Strasbourg and was funded by a Commande d’Etat from the French Ministry of Culture.