soprano, flute, bass clarinet, horn, 2 percussions, 3 double basses and amplification (contact microphones)

Commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, this work was written in 1975, and was first performed in Toronto on March 8, 1975, by New Music Concerts under the direction of the composer. It was next performed in Pollack Hall in Montreal on December 9, 1976, on the occasion of a concert marking the 10th anniversary of the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec. The work is scored for soprano, flute, French horn, bass clarinet, three double-basses and two percussions. One percussionist must also dance and microphones are used.

“The title comes from two words: orants (people in prayer) with the word alleluia inserted in it. This use of the trope (a medieval expression meaning a quotation, parenthesis or insertion) reflects the form of the work. The text is taken from the first alleluia of the mass for Pentecost, which takes on a special light on the threshold of this quarter-century: Emitte spiritum tuum, et creabuntur et renovabis faciem terrae (Send out Thy breath and all things will be created and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.) The work is intended as a prayer to this ‘breath’ – an antenna directed toward all that is the source of life, with an idea of blooming and blossoming that belongs to it, giving birth to the alleluia, and animated by two streams of feeling: the first, all exuberance, rapidity and contrast, is full of movement (melodic, phonetic and spatial); the second is more continuous and calm, with an exultant serenity. One must also mention the subjacent idea of rupture, breaking and accident, paradoxical in its ambiguity, because the breaking makes possible new movements and unexpected departures. The instrumentation is characterized by the use of three doublebasses. Most of the time they use natural open-string harmonics, an untempered universe which tends to colour the rest of the music. This whole acoustic aspect is, moreover, dedicated to Pythagoras who first established the relationship between numbers and harmonic progressions.”

Gilles Tremblay