Commission: Orchestre des jeunes du Québec (OJQ)

Plages was written in July 1981 and premiered the same year, conducted by the composer.

The music is derived from a matrix, a group of five notes, which, by successive inversions and transpositions, generates a network of intervals extending over six octaves, using the augmented fourth F-B as center.

The work consists of a single movement separated in five sections (plages) which differ in length and orchestration. In each section, a different characteristic of the matrix is exploited as follows:

  1. In the lower register of the orchestra, the original group of five notes, note by note, by successive entries interrupted by pauses.
  2. In the high register, an inversion played by the strings followed by a transition played by brass and woodwinds;
  3. By the woodwinds, in short rhythmic permutations of the matrix;
  4. By the strings, in a more melodic version of the previous section, in retrograde;
  5. By the full orchestra, in a very slow tempo.

In the coda, elements of sections 1 and 3 are restated while each string player chooses freely different transpositions of the original group and, in turn, basses and cellos, viola and violins disappear into silence.