Play audio clip

15 musicians

Commission: Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, with support from the CALQ

This work was written for the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and premiered under the direction of Lorraine Vaillancourt. From the beginning of its writing, I thought that this piece would be oriented towards an image of the human being in their relationship with their fellow human beings and with nature. I then recalled a book that had a great impact on me when I was 17 or 18, Nature Man and Woman (Amour et connaissance in French) by American philosopher Alan Watts, an enthusiast Of oriental religions. Heavily influenced by Taoism and Zen Buddhism, it had a strong influence on me.

I imagined our world evolving inexorably towards an Eden where peace, love and the practice of the arts would reign. Today, looking at the state of the world, perhaps we still need to dream of better times than in the 1970s.

During the course of the work, the idea of reminiscence came to the fore. Refined ears will notice a mistake in the last quotation from Mozart’s work. In fact, I was thinking of the theme of what seemed to me to be a string quartet, without knowing which work it was. It was just a reminiscence!

So I wrote down what I had in mind just as it can to me, only to learn later that it was the Clarinet quartet. Due to the subject matter I found it interesting to leave it as it was.

L’Être et la réminiscence is part of a compositional process that I call “dissociation élémentielle”. Begun in 1991 in my work Théâtre navrant (commissioned by the SMCQ) and

used in all my orchestral works since then (including In auditorium), this process consists of simultaneously linking musical elements that at first glance have little or no relation to each another. Strongly inspired by the work of the American composer Charles E. Ives, this method, combined with the immersion effect favoured by spatialization, markedly changes, I believe, the listener’s mode of perception. In my opinion, it elicits in the listener a form of attention that is much closer to everyday listening than that favoured by listening to a work of a unitary nature presented on stage in a frontal manner. This is the subject of my doctoral thesis (currently being written).

L’Être et la réminiscence won the Opus Award/Creation of the year for the 2016-2017 season.