Les choses dernières

Robert Marcel Lepage

The music is, “of the night in an unknown land” and is rich with the imagistic character of dance and film. Coda Magazine, Canada

… riche en charme… ImproJazz, France

Shocking! Clarinettist and composer Robert Marcel Lepage strikes again on Ambiances Magnétiques, but for the first time, his music is clarinet-free! This new CD, Les choses dernières (“The last things”), is a suite for double string quartet and sampler, interpreted by the Quatuor Caméléon and Robert Marcel Lepage.

Fans of the clarinettist need not worry, however, for they will recognize Lepage’s personal touch, as his attacks, screams and textures as well as his sense of melody are all over the place. The music, dense, deep yet full of light, was created for Lucie Grégoire’s eponymous performance. Grégoire’s choreography was inspired by Anna Blume, heroine of Paul Auster’s “In the Country of Last Things.”

This is an invitation to discover the music of Robert Marcel Lepage and, who knows, maybe revisit Auster’s novel while you’re at it.

CD (AM 035)

  • Label: Ambiances Magnétiques
  • AM 035
  • 1995
  • UCC 771028103522
  • Total duration: 49:17
  • Jewel case
  • 125 mm × 142 mm × 10 mm
  • 110 g

On the web

Some recommended items
In the press


François Couture, AllMusic, June 1, 2000

Les choses dernières was something very much different for Robert Marcel Lepage. Although he had been writing for the screen and the stage for numerous years, he had remained identified with his clarinet and, truth be told, had never put it down whenever music was concerned. But for the music to Lucie Grégoire’s choreography, Lepage made a wild move and scored a fascinating suite for string quartet and sampler. The sampling is done on the quartet itself (the Quatuor Caméléon), therefore its presence becomes almost unnoticeable. The 11 movements of Les choses dernières are segued and play on tension and release, on movement and stillness. Even though not a single clarinet sound is heard, even though the treatment here is a lot more serious and dark than usual, one can clearly recognize Lepage’s writing. His music always had a strong cinematic quality that came from his years of working with or without Jean Derome and René Lussier at the National Film Board of Canada. Les choses dernières takes up where Bernard Herrmann (who scored numerous Alfred Hitchcock movies) left, using plucking and quick, violent strikes of the bow as a mean to provoke emotional reactions, blending these techniques with Bartok’s sensibility. The sense of urgency felt in Urgence is on the verge of unbearable, making it the undisputed standout track. Les choses dernières shouldn’t be approached like an ordinary Robert Marcel Lepage album. The sound palette, mood, and form of the music are radically different than what he usually does. But those who understand his music on a deeper level will be charmed.


Coda Magazine, no. 269, September 1, 1998
The music is, “of the night in an unknown land” and is rich with the imagistic character of dance and film.


ImproJazz, April 1, 1996
… riche en charme…


Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 25, September 1, 1995
…Expressive, fortement rythmée, la musique de R. Lepage… est vivante, dans le sens où elle fonctionne de manière totalement autonome, tout en conservant un caractère “visuel” tant elle suggère le mouvement…

More texts

  • N D - Magazine, June 1, 1997
  • Rafa Dorado, Margen, no. 4, January 1, 1995