solo violin, two flutes (piccolo and flute in G), oboe, clarinet in A, bass clarinet, horn, trumpet, tuba, piano, percussion, harp, two violins, viola, cello and double bass

(d’)Aller for solo violin and 16 instruments was composed at the Villa Medicis in Rome, 1994-1995, and is dedicated to Robert Pfeiffer. In this work that is not quite a concerto, the solo part does not compete with and is not opposed to the instrumental ensemble. Similarly, it is not spectacular or particularly virtuosic in nature. Instead, the soloist is conceived as a catalyst, going through the elements of the orchestral matter like a ray of sunshine sets a stained-glass window ablaze. He (or she) is the one initiating events and processes, taking their place or reorienting them on different paths. In the orchestral space, the piece diffuses and develops a melodic profile deducted from the traditional shape of the sine wave, seen here as a melody archetype.

Movement - its birth, its death, and the maintenance of the energy ensuring its life span - is one of Philippe Leroux’s concerns.

The continuity principle inhabiting the piece is born out of an obvious yearning for logic. Every idea found in the work is deducted, either from a source sound already carrying with it its own developments, or processes that, when pushed deep into the red, are bound to exhaust themselves and die. But these movements (inverted ones, as the discerning ear will detect) are always complementary. In that regard, one could listen to the work as a sound metaphor on the Laws of the Living, according to which destructed elements already give birth to new ones in the act of disappearing. Composition can be seen as a process of begettings, a series of genetic operations in which, in a telescopic way, the Alpha merges with the Omega.

(d’)Aller was awarded the 1996 SACEM Award for best new contemporary work of the year.

Dominique Druhen

Performances

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