4 clarinets

Premiere: June 12, 1997, Prix Québec-Flandre 1996: Orient-Express, Salle Pierre-Mercure — Centre Pierre-Péladeau, Montréal (Québec)

The word “Quar’l” encapsulates several others: it can mean “aquarelle” (water colour), a sort of global, audible painting of a rather bizarre sonic landscape, timbrally rich and exciting. The word also mainly means a “quarrel” or brawl. The opening motives simmer and gather energy until a cadence in the bass clarinet, only to return to tranquility, as though nothing had happened. Nonetheless, it becomes apparent that this recapitulation is not a true return to the beginning of the piece, but more to the two motives from which it was derived… It is a return, in fact, to the pre-compositional phase of the work… It’s like being thrown into the middle of a film while “surfing the channels,” and at the end being obliged to ask, “What on Earth did I miss at the beginning?