Michel Lambert’s Ars Transmutatoria in action

Welcome to Michel’s Ars Transmutatoria virtual museum! You can enter the exhibition space and take a tour of the visual scores at the core of the upcoming music release.

As well as inventing this virtual exhibition for you, Michel has created a limited edition boxed set that includes four cds and a vinyl. These are packaged in a unique handmade box, signed, embossed, numbered. Recordings included in the boxed set are Ars Transmutatoria Bronze and Orange as well as Rouge and Bleu. You can pick up the vinyl (which isn’t available through streaming) or the entire boxed set at his Bandcamp page.

Do we all travel to the same place when we improvise, dream or imagine? Can a visual score allow us to travel to the same imaginal space together? These are the questions at the core of Michel’s epic Ars Transmutatoria project.

limited edition compact discs include a small hand-cut booklet of reproductions of the scores

As we travelled the world together, Michel always stops to observe nature around him closely and collected small details that caught his eye. In the same way I collect the energies of the spirits of place through song, he captures it in his visual scores, a multi-media multi-year project of art and music making. It is a logical progression of his Journal des Episodes that began back in the 1980s when he kept a daily diary of symphonic scores with a drawing each day. You can find those here.

So how can we bring all this magical energy he has collected to life? His answer is to bring the scores to musicians who respond to the challenge in a series of evocative environments.

Here are some examples of the music created with this intuitive method. For this video, Ars Transmutatoria: Os, he brought this score as well as over forty more to the world renowned Studio la Buissonne in France where we met up with our creative musical friends from Barre Phillips’ EMIR group.

Here is the video with the music and the score blown up for full effect.

Performed by Michel Lambert, drums; Jeannette Lambert, voice; Laurent Charles, sax; Davide Barbarino, sax; Lionel Garcin sax; and Emmanuel Cremer, cello. Recorded at Studio la Buissonne, Pernes les fontaines, France by Gérard de Haro, December 6, 2019. Mixing and film by myself.

Later in Kyoto during the Gion Matsuri or Festival, Michel composed this visual score from fragments gathered at the Artspace Yosuga residency. And in December of the same year he brought the score to this immensely talented ensemble of free players in the only remaining Elizabethan Church in London.

Michel Lambert, drums; Caroline Kraabel, saxophone; Adrian Northover, saxophone; Susanna Ferrar, violin; Hyelim Kim, taegum; Jeannette Lambert, voice; Phil Minton, voice and trumpet; Trevor Taylor, vibes; Steve Beresford, piano; Veryan Weston, organ; Steve Noble, drums; John Edwards, acoustic bass. Recorded by Ali Ward. Recorded at the Old Church in Stoke Newington, London England on December 12 2019. Mix, master and film by myself.

Below are a few videos of other recording sessions from recent years and these are also in production and created around the evocative scores. To be continued!

The latest Ars Transmutatoria workshops were recorded in Helsinki and Rome last summer, 2022, and the recordings are now available as well. See https://nette.ca/jeannette/2023/03/21/ars-transmutatori-iku-turso/ and listen here.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for awarding funding for various stages of these projects.