alto flute, violin, viola, cello and double bass

Commission: Lieve Schuermans, with support from the CCA and The Banff Centre for the Arts

“There are moments when one has the impression that time stands still… or that it is so elastic that it expands to nothingness…

Des caresses… is a slow passacaglia that exists in this strange world of motionless time. The piece progresses as a play between harmonic tension and release rather than growing from a discrete theme. The engagement between action and stasis starts gently, then gradually increases in urgency as it presses forward, and melodic lines, at once similar and unique, tangle and intertwine.

There is a certain sensual pleasure in seeking out the splinters in time, and in losing oneself in a mirage of movement.

Inspired by the painting of the same title by symbolist artist Fernand Khnopff, Des caresses… summons forth vague images and voluptuous memories. Is this what Khnopff meant to evoke with his portrayal of a woman-beast, part Madonna, part Salomé, siren, Sapho or harpy? “Desire… again… before the ultimate oblivion.”

Denys Bouliane

  • Score available at CMC, Région du Québec.
  • Recording: available at SMCQ’s office