Premiere : February 19 2009 as part of MNM Festival
Dedicated to my brother Alain and Indira, for the colours, and the floral and ceramic effervescences; to the memory of my friend, the philosopher Daniel Charles; and to the members of Quasar: Marie-Chantal Leclair, Jean-Marc Bouchard, Mathieu Leclair, André Leroux.
For those who rise up; for those who take a stand.
Composed as a commission for Quasar, this saxophone quartet is divided into three parts that flow seamlessly one into the other:
- Bouillonnement Floral (Floral Effervescence)
- Transition et Chant (Transition and Song)
- Éclats (Flashes)
Floral effervescence is shared amongst all the instruments in the ensemble, from which four branches emerge: alto, soprano, tenor, and later baritone with a low register that transforms into a “slicing sound,” a cry that gives rise to reciprocal melodic celebrations and variations. Jubilation alternates with effervescent ripples transposed on themselves (like the play of bubbles that changes in intensity depending on the level of heat). They develop in more and more elaborate sequences (Levées). Abbreviated and conclusive, the final one branches off immediately into the second, slower part, with an expressive unison passage inspired by Monteverdi. It is made up of a transition in which, through the deployment of a slow melody, an unusual aspect of the saxophone is heard: “cloud sounds” imbued with great poetic sweetness. This prelude prepares an expressive song, a lengthy phrase that grows increasingly intense until a breaking point that leads to… Éclats (Flashes). This third section takes the form of short, winged cells, like multi-facetted crystals, with a variety of angles, registers, transpositions and permutations. All to create an increasingly exalted sense of jubilation. To organize disorder. Vertigo.
Levées has been commissioned by Quasar with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts.