Chants of Night
‘The night knows nothing of the chants of night.’ Thus begins ‘Re-statement of Romance’, a poem from Wallace Stevens’ 1936 collection Ideas of Order. While there is no direct relationship between Chants of Night and Stevens’ poem, the music was inspired by the richness of the poem’s nocturnal imagery and its profound sense of tranquility.
In a slow opening passage, an improvisatory clarinet melody alternates with a solemnly regular melody played by the contrabassoon. A chorus of bell chords, which have from the start been an intermittent feature of the music, brings the section to a close. From this point forward the calm atmosphere is gradually abandoned in favour of faster, more animated music, which grows to a climax of extreme density culminating in the return of the tubular bells, this time playing a heavily ornamented melody. The climax eventually subsides and leads to a slow coda – a fleeting intimation of the serenity with which the piece began.
Instrumentation: Mixed Ensemble (1(=picc+afl).1.2(I=Ebcl+bcl.II=bcl).1(=cbsn) – 22.214.171.124 – perc(1): t.bells/vib/mar – pno – 126.96.36.199.1)
Commission: Written for Domaine Forget New Music Session 2012
23rd August 2012
Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Lorraine Vaillancourt (Conductor)
Salle Françoys-Bernier, Quebec