A reading from Owen Glendower

It is with great regret that we learned of the sudden death in June 2006 of Mr Pierre-Yvon Tremel who was a member of the upper chamber in the French Parliament, the Senate, and also mayor of Cavan, a village in Northern Brittany, 8 miles from Lannion. With his 2004 New Year wishes, he had included a CD of the actual sounds recorded in the early morning silence of Cavan one day in late November 2003, to which he had added his own reading (in French) of a passage from Owen Glendower.

He kindly gave us permission to include this mp3 version of his reading.

This is the original of the extract he chose to read:
The silence seemed to mount up from the sea and sink down from the sky. It flowed around and around; buoying up the sounds that floated upon it, as if they'd been relaxed swimmers on the smooth tide; and the silence mingled with the sun-sparkles, too, that were rocking on the incoming waves, and with the rare sea-scents that kept entering that turret window. But the sounds were what the silence loved the best of all; and they rose from all manners of different directions.

They were casual sounds, drifting sounds, accidental sounds, without order and without cohesion. But they were the music of life. Some came from fishermen drying their nets on the rocks, some from seagulls along the walls of the jetty, some from cattle and sheep in the castle-meadows, some from horses and hounds in the castle-yard. They were fainter, more volatile, more ethereal than the living things that uttered them.

A cock-crow was less and more than any chanticleer, a lamb's bleat less and more than any actual lamb, a horse's neigh, or a rook's caw, or a seaman's whistle, was a voice rising from generations of horses, rooks, and fishermen!

Fused together, these isolated sounds evoked a sense of the continuity of life by sea and land, a continuity simple, tranquil, universal, detached from individual hunger or desire or pain or joy.
(John Cowper Powys, "The Maid in Armour", Owen Glendower, Picador 1978, p.685-6)
This is the French translation by Patrick Reumaux which you will hear:
Le silence paraissait monter de la mer et descendre du ciel. Il s'étendait en nappes, recueillant les bruits qui flottaient sur lui, comme des nageurs à l'aise sur un flot tranquille, se mêlait aux étincelles de soleil qui ondulaient sur les vagues montantes et aux rares senteurs marines qui ne cessaient d'entrer par la fenêtre de la tourelle. Mais les bruits étaient ce que le silence aimait le plus et eux venaient de toutes les directions.

C'étaient des bruits fortuits, des bruits errants, des bruits occasionnels, sans ordre ni cohésion. Mais ils étaient la musique de la vie. Certains venaient de pêcheurs faisant sécher leurs filets sur les rochers, d'autres de mouettes sur les digues de la jetée, d'autres de bœufs et de moutons paissant alentour, d'autres de chevaux et de chiens dans la cour. Les bruits étaient plus faibles, plus volatiles, plus éthérés que les choses vivantes qui les émettaient.

Le chant d'un coq est moins et plus que n'importe quel coq, le bêlement d'un agneau moins et plus que n'importe quel agneau, le hénnissement d'un cheval, le croassement d'un freux, le sifflement d'un marin étaient une voix s'élevant de générations de chevaux, de freux et de pêcheurs! Fondus ensemble, ces bruits isolés évoquaient la continuité de la vie sur terre et sur mer, une continuité simple, tranquille, universelle, détachée de la faim ou du désir de la peine ou de la joie de chacun.
(John Cowper Powys, Owen Glendower-II, Phébus 1996, p.271)

This moving reading is a clear sign of the human qualities which were manifest throughout Pierre-Yvon Tremel's life up to its tragic and untimely end.