The first performance was given by the United Strings of Europe, conducted by Franck Fontcouberte, at the Conservatory of Geneva, Switzerland on the
19 March 2018.
Palindrome is a piece for 12 theremins, or string ensemble, based on a model of a tree. Each theremin, or each string part, represents a branch. The trajectory of the piece evolves from the roots to the top of the tree. The piece is divided into three distinct sections:
I: Roots (Racines): In this introductory section, the parts intertwine, almost randomly, creating a
very blurred and uncertain atmosphere. The high and quiet entries of individual parts gives the listener a feeling of distance. This section slowly progresses; the evolution of this section into the next section gradually becomes more apparent.
II: Trunk (Tronc): In this section, the parts have merged on one note (G) to become one and the same, and two bass voices add lower octaves. This represents stability and strength, like a tree trunk. The dynamic level increases, as if to affirm this strength and power, signifying also that a retreat is impossible as the long metaphorical path to the sky begins.
III: Branches (Branches): The division of the single note into harmony at the start of this section is like the division of the trunk into branches - the major chord is like an initial exposure to the sun. Instead of simply continuing this harmonic stability, like the tree that simply gives leaves to its branches, the section progressively becomes more harmonically intense and complex. The parts gradually become higher and more spaced out, and the stability of the previous section is weakened; the branches are freed, unleashed, pushed unpleasantly to their limits, like Icarus burning his wings. The piece closes on these high notes, which become almost inaudible, and ends as it started - with the void, emptiness, nothingness.