Leitmotifs are not variations, but presentations of other possibilities, confided Nono to Cacciari on the subject of Wagner. In reality, my rhythmic cells in Voile are a referential invariant in situations that have the same function as the leitmotifs described above.

Mallarmé said that one doesn’t write poetry with ideas, but with words. That is, poetry has a concrete body whose flesh is the word that suspends its natural gravity and places it in a more abstract category of thought. Some poets proceed inversely, and are more influenced or stimulated by a singular historical context.

This is not to say that music is not composed with concepts, but notes, but that what is important is a movement from one to the other.
There is a sort of interplay (« jeu » in the sense of non-adjusted mechanical pieces) in musical composition that presents and uses a text.

As Starobinsky said, Mallarmé’s objective in poetry is to institute the « idea » (the pure notion) under the guard of language and of signs. This is a movement from the concrete to the abstract. Music proceeds rather in the opposite direction, if one maintains that the concrete is the universe of signs of a score that has to be generated using a certain logic, and that produces, if not a language, at least a grammar.

The point of departure being Mallarmé’s poem, a supposed abstraction, the problem of meaning is ultimately secondary, simply intersected in the concreteness of the word in the process of composition. A spatial metaphor of this movement is introduced in barbb 136 of Voile.

Voile, for five instruments and electronics, proposes a reading (a desperate practice, in the words of Mallarmé) of the text « La chevelure » within the framework of values of duration arbitrarily attributed to two lines of the « coup de dés ». In other words, the « coup de dés » is the source of the architecture, «La chevelure » being a linear insertion in this organized space.

The electronic part, synchronous with the instrumental part, diffuses the entirety of the texts that are sung, spoken or whispered. These texts undergo instrumental transformations and a strict spatial distribution according to a stable, digital grid. The voice is therefore present through the loudspeakers but is elided on stage. This artificial arrangement can also be regarded as a metaphor of the Déclaration foraine, the text in which the poem « La chevelure » appears.
This artifice also tends to veil its own operations, like a screen before an imaginary theatre, whose choreographic mobility « dissolves the screen of the visible, this conventional veil ».

D. Cohen