Coffre III(a) (Le Cercle Gnostique I {<Incantations IV>}) (1978, 84)

Walter Boudreau

flute (or clarinet), cello, and piano

This work is drawn from a three-part cycle (Coffre, Incantations and Le Cercle gnostique), in which each part generates numerous pieces of varying length. For example, Coffre II is 84 minutes long and is written for a vast variable and diverse instrumentation. A central melody of sixteen notes, delivered in its entirety in L’Odyssée du Soleil, forms the basis of the cycle.

Coffre III (a) (Le Cercle gnostique 1{“Incantations IV”}) also derives from this series of works, the foundations of which came into being in 1974. These nuclei were sporadically reworked throughout the period of composition and up to the completion of the work on October 33rd, 1984 at 3:33. The composition consists of a small trio designed to represent a “postmodern salon piece”, like an ironic tribute to this tradition fossilized in the ruins of the British Empire: the ceremonial Five O’clock Tea. Its three sections, including a coda within the coda, unfold in a series of devolving tempi:

  1. Frantic (Heurté)
  2. Extremely Rapid and Regular (Extrêmement rapide et régulier)
  3. Very Slow and Sustained (Très lent et suspendu)

Disparate and antithetical musical elements (hectic conversations following tinted with tea and crumpets’ mix…) are brought to the fore in this work, only to congeal gradually and to reveal, at the end, the original cantus firmus in five-part harmony.

PS: Because Claude Vivier’s Greeting Music is dated October 15th, my birthday, I have also included a short citation from it in the last measure of my work (B-flat to G from Wo bist du Licht!)

Walter Boudreau

  • Recording: CD: Atma ACD 2 2283

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