This article explores the notion of artistic collaboration between performer and composer, a topic that has attracted some attention but whose methodology might be thought to preclude objective discussion by the participants themselves. Although our report can make no claims to objectivity either, it attempts a critical reflection on a specific collaboration between the two authors as composer and performer, respectively. Cast in a dialogical format, it traces the genesis of a composition by Fabrice Fitch for speaking cellist, Per Serafino Calbarsi II: Le Songe de Panurge, written in 2002–3 and premiered in London in October 2006. The collaboration first evolved as a constant exchange of ideas in which concept, technique, and realization were held in fine balance. The piece engages a variety of frames of reference. If its stance in relation to the instrument clearly draws on certain contemporary traditions, for example Lachenmann’s musiqueconcrète instrumentale, other aspects draw on earlier idioms, notably a specialized instance of scordatura, and the use of a spoken text (from the third book of Rabelais’s Pantagruel) that recalls Marin Marais’s Tableau de l’opération de la taille. The interferences and resonances between these influences pose aesthetic questions that are explored within the piece and its performance, while remaining open for the analyst and audience. Finally, the ‘extended techniques’ employed posed specific notational problems. The resulting score navigates a path between tablature and ‘traditional’ notation, in which the emphasis between what is heard and what is played shifts constantly. This hybrid status, we imagine, constitutes a challenge not only for the performer, but for the analyst as well.