Play audio clip

chamber orchestra

Commission: Standing Wave

Liquid States was commissioned by the Vancouver-based “Standing Wave” ensemble. I love the name of this ensemble, which translates into French as “vague dévoyée,” an amazing phenomenon spontaneously occurring mid-ocean, where at times a single wave rises to a height of more than 20 meters and can travel at more than 100 kilometers an hour. I couldn’t resist composing a work inspired by water, an element that has inspired almost a dozen of my creations.

At the time of the commission, I saw the mythical film Step into Liquid, which moved me profoundly. It wasn’t the surf culture that interested me. The composer works with sound, and the moving water is the surfer’s substance. This is what dazzled me. The almost infinite textural fluctuations of water became my inspiration and contemplation for the composition of Liquid States.

The ensemble is amplified and is used in a very percussive way: the violinist, clarinetist and pianist are invited to play inside the piano with mallets and brushes. The fluidity of the piece explores ways of playing with textures and patterns.

My works often begin abruptly as if the music has already been played for some time: there is no introduction or development, just the most concentrated version of unprocessed material. This is the approach that I have taken with this work.