Ecce deus fortior me, qui veniens dominabitur michi.
– Dante Alighieri
It starts out quietly — almost imperceptibly. The nature of the small bouncing sounds that open the piece, however, should put us on our guard: tense and nervous, they announce the catastrophes to come. Because 0.95652… is a catastrophic, cataclysmic piece. Its very substance seems to be catastrophe. Relationships are inverted. Tumultuous, roaring upheavals, increasing throughout the piece, are, paradoxically, its moments of calm. Which may shed some light on its title — enigmatic and unpronounceable (like the name of God in the Old Testament?). This almost one speaks the limit, the smallest difference, which is also the instant of maximal intensity. And 0.95652... places us within this instant as if within a nest. (After, there will be one: completion (?), silence (?), death (?) — domains beyond our reach.) The “total sound,” immobile and solar agitation, is detached from all causality. It appears brutally (increasingly brutally as the piece advances), and stops just as abruptly, without reason. — Or at the very least as a displaced and disproportionate consequence of what could be its cause: iterations of white steel, mechanical frictions of poor children's' toys unexpectedly skidding out of control, exploding into intergalactic rodeos, into crackling, rattling epics, comico-cosmic. Possible images among others left to the listeners' imagination. The whole speaks of a fundamental ambivalence between ends and means. The almost one's “total sound” is not the result of a learnedly elaborated construction (à la Beethoven or Wagner, say): it is already there. It takes the place of silence. This music inhabits a complexity that it acquires and accepts — indecipherable – and there, very naturally, it finds stillness, calm. Which is what gives it its most unexpected quality, its “moral”: the lightness and transparency of this extreme power does not overwhelm us. Instead it leaves us free and invigorated, as if we had been bathing in air. [Régis Renouard Larivière]
Comissioned by the French Ministry of Culture, 2005. Premiered in Paris, 23 April 2006.