2 flutes, vibraphone, piano, 2 violins, cello and double bass

Ô Bali was commissioned by Radio-Canada to commemorate the centenary of the first major contact of the West with Indonesian music at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris. At this occasion, Debussy heard a gamelan and wrote his famous essays. To pay hommage to the extraordinary music of Bali, I have composed this work following the principles of Balinese music, though freely interpreted. For example, my piece is based on two melodies played by the flutes that are at the same time ornamented and punctuated by the other instruments. This technique of orchestration, essential to the gamelan, is at the base of the heterophonic writing style I have used in my music since 1982. However, these melodies in themselves have nothing in common with those of Bali: they use all twelve tones of the tempered scale and not sets of five or seven notes, as is the case in Balinese music. My piece is dedicated to the memory of Colin McPhee (1900-64), a Montreal composer and a great pioneer in the study of Balinese music. — JE

  • Score available at CMC, Région du Québec.
  • Recording: CD: Salabert/Actuels 1992


  • [Photograph: Evelyne Demers]
    Thursday, December 7, 2017