Ode (owed) to O

Reading through (CD 1) and reading from (CD 2) Pauline Reage’s infamous novel Story of O


Composed by Emmanuelle Waeckerlé
Performed by Andre O. Moeller, Antoine Beuger, Alissa Cheung, Josten Myburgh, Sandra Schimag, Samuel Vriezen, Emmanuelle Waeckerlé

Ode (owed) to O concludes a sequence of on-the-page works that seeks to liberate O from her rather shocking story, doing so using minimal and multiple narrations and musical renditions of texts that blend erotic literature, conceptual writing and verbal scores.

Alone together, you aloud to yourself, your mouth moving O, your voice to those. Echoes of O, unbound for moment, of O, of you. (score extract)

Whether one is looking for a powerful feminist expression, a series of innovative text experiments, or a slab of avant-garde bliss, Ode (owed) to O delivers it in an exciting way. from Conor Kutz review (Nov 2017)


In (story of), the original text has been abridged to fourteen phrases, chosing those where O is subject (as opposed to passive object). In O(hh), these phrases have been gradually stripped of words containing other vowels, until only O remains before being breathed away. In O(nly), O-words and O-sounds are released vocally while instruments, read her as a note or chords on a stave of words.


Reading (Story of) O (uniformbooks, 2015)

reprints, in parallel, a graphic reworking of the English and French versions of the original story (first published in 1954) and includes (Reading) O, a series of instructions for reading alone or with others, which were used for (looking for). The other tracks are based on new text scores for voices and instruments that take the work away from its original literary context into the field of performative reading and experimental music.


The CD was launched and performed at Klangraum 2017 (18th -23rd July 2018) in Dusselrdorf, Café Oto in London (22nd February 2018), Constellation in Chicago (22nd April 2018). The CD was realised with support from UCA research fund.

It was reviewed by Conor Kutz (USA) and NIEUWE NOTEN (Dutch).

Ode (owed) to O double CD is available here


Ode to O

A body of work (book, cd, text scores, performances, prints) based upon the infamous erotic novel Story of O, in an attempt to navigate a passage through this difficult literary work and its notorious yet little known history.
The work began as a series of private love letters handwritten by Anne Cécile Desclos to her lover Jean Paulhan. It was first published in French in 1954, under the pen name Pauline Réage, and the official English translation appeared in 1965.