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André Hamel: Pièce pour violon et piano

violin and piano

Pièce pour violon et piano (1984) This work was written during my first year of composition studies with Serge Garant. Garant had wrongly, a reputation of being a rather rigid structuralist. In an act of defiance, admittedly rather childish, I chose to write this work in a completely empirical way, inspired by my improvisations of the moment, a sort of game of constant and anarchic modulations. Far from discouraging me, Garant gave me sound advice, advice which, among other things, prevented me from straying into the constant invention that up to that point had characterized my work. He also advised me to show the score to my harmony teacher, Massimo Rossi, and to take advantage of his advice. This piece was premiered at l’Université de Montréal and then recorded in the Radio-Canada studios. In 1989 it was performed in Montréal and Toronto as part of an exchange project between the SCAQ (now Codes d’Accès) and the Toronto group Ex Tenebris (which has since faded into obscurity).

Here is the programme note which accompanied these concerts:

This piece, with its three interlocking sections, is, in a way, an A-B-A of two languages. More lyrical, the first and third sections are made up of anarchic and incessant modulations that give each instrument its own direction.

The violin and the piano seem to be constantly opposing and joining each other. In the central section, the treatment of the material differs. The other two movements are completely rewritten but rendered practically unrecognizable by various manipulations and rhythmic work where the pulsation is practically absent.