(…revenir dans l’oubli…)


For orchestra (3223/4231/3 perc./strings) (ca.17′) (2013)

In January 2013, Risto Nieminen, director of the Gulbenkian Foundation Music department, asked me to write a new work for the Gulbenkian orchestra. This composition would be performed together with Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony. Therefore, I was asked to connect my work in some way to Beethoven’s composition, if possible.

Many ideas crossed my mind. Since I don’t like very obvious musical quotations – in a way, they are disturbing to me – I preferred to make a more abstract connection to Beethoven’s composition. First, as the dimensions of the Ninth Symphony are huge – the piece takes over one hour, and every individual part is quite extensive as well –, I made a piece which is dominated by one long musical structure, rather than a sequence of shorter musical movements.

Besides the formal aspect, also the instrumentation of my composition is strongly influenced by Beethoven’s work. I took the orchestra of the Ninth Symphony as a starting point, to which only a tuba was added. Further, Beethoven’s orchestra contains some instruments which only have a minor role in the work – the piccolo, the contrabassoon and the two percussions only appear in the last movement; the trombones and the trumpets don’t have an extensive part either. Therefore, precisely these instruments get a leading role in my new composition.

In a way, (…revenir dans l’oubli…) could be analyzed as a sixteen-minute long sonata form with three ‘themes’:
– a furioso passage with rapid gestures in the woodwinds (especially the piccolo) and in the trombones;
– a slower melodic section, with solos for the English horn and the bassoon;
– a kind of coda, dominated by a double bassoon solo and a clarinet solo
In between the ‘themes’, there are transition passages with faster movements, containing solo passages for percussion and trumpet.

The title of the work, (…revenir dans l’oubli…), refers to a central principle which is characteristic for my music in general: the idea that every work is connected to other works, i.e. both my own, as well as other composer’s pieces. In this composition, besides references to Beethoven, echoes of recent pieces of mine are included, such as En derive – (…paysage d’oubli…) for mezzo soprano and nine instruments (2013), or (…de l’Immense Infini.) for baritone and orchestra, which I wrote within the framework of a composition workshop at the Lisbon Gulbenkian Foundation and was premiered by the Gulbenkian Orchestra in September 2012.


First performance:

29-05-2014, Lisbon, Gulbenkian Foundation, Gulbenkian Orchestra conducted by Paul Mccreesh.