flute, 2 oboes, harp, percussion and 5 string instruments

The first signs of spring, the breaking up of the ice along the river’s edge (the débâcle in French), the grinding sound of the masses of frozen water crushing up against each other as they begin to detach themselves like great tectonic plates, the joy of children seeing these natural phenomena for the first time, this rite of passage from winter to spring, and the crystalline fragments set free as they wend their way toward the ocean, only to return as rain and many months later as snow, to be made frozen once again, all this is our rite of spring.

This work was commissioned by the French television network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (James Dormeyer, producer) for the chamber orchestra, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (Lorraine Vaillancourt, conductor). The commission specified that it would be broadcast within the series «Les Beaux Dimanches» (1993), for which program four other composers received commissions.