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2 clarinets, horn, trumpet, trombone, percussion, piano, 2 violins, viola, cello and double bass

Commission: Festival MNM — Société Radio-Canada (SRC), Festival Présences — Radio France

Premiere: March 6, 2005, Montréal / Nouvelles Musiques 2005: Ensemble Court-circuit (concert 1), Salle Pollack — Pavillon Strathcona — Université McGill, Montréal (Québec)

In antiquity, an accident (accidentia) enjoyed an altogether different meaning than it does today since the concept depended upon substance (substantia), a metaphysical notion which in turn was a manifestation of essence (essentia). And Aristotelian thinkers would come to identify nine accidents: quantity, action, quality, time (when), place (where), relation, disposition (arrangement of parts), passion, and raiment. Although this lexical scheme was intended to account for animate things, it also elucidates I believe the nature of music at its most perfect embodiment — as matter is to form, substance (material) is to accident.

Disposed along three actions, Happé (Struck) , Effondré (Founder) and Défiguré (Disfiguration), my work was written for the Ensemble Court-circuit (France), thanks to a combined commission from Radio-Canada and Radio France. The last action, Défiguré, points to the untimely death of Gérard Grisey (1946-1998) caused by a cerebral accident (aneurism). Allusions to the funeral music from act three of Tristan as well as to Grisey’s seminal composition, Partiels, are brought together in this homage.

The work was given its première on 2 February 2005, in Paris, for the 2005 editions of the Présences festival in Paris and Montreal/New Music (MNM).

John Rea