Tremblay, Gilles (1932-)
Gilles Tremblay has had an exemplary career as a composer, pianist, ondist and professor. He taught analysis and composition at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal for many years (1961-1998), playing an important role in the training of an entire generation of composers. After taking First Prize in piano at the same school in 1953, he participated in Messiaen’s analysis class in Paris, receiving a First Prize in 1957. He then attended the Darmstadt summer school, and a few years later undertook further training with the Groupe de recherches musicales de l’ORTF. During this period, he encountered numerous composers, such as Boulez, Stockhausen, Boucourechliev, Ferrari and Xenakis.
The recipient of numerous prizes, including the Calixa-Lavallée Prize for the soundscape of the Québec Pavilion at Expo 67, and the Denise-Pelletier Prize (1991), Gilles Tremblay has also received numerous commissions and his works have been played worldwide. In May 2001, he created Les Pierres crieront
for large orchestra and solo cello, a commission for Radio-France. Made Officer of the National Order of Quebec in 1991, he was subsequently named Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture in 1993.
This one movement work displays the evolution of one main idea. Briefly exposed in the beginning, it keeps growing throughout the piece, hence the title, Croissant (from "croître", to grow). From the beginning are grafted: efflorescences; wasp-like flights with surprising irregular fast moves; an incantation on a single repeated sound with quarter tone inflections. It is followed by capricious wandering glissandi passed from one musician to another.
A first development of harmonic blocks with their shadows in a mirrored pattern makes a rhythmic metabol (transformation of rhythm into another rhythm). It alternates with a "Jubilus" (joyful motives) of lute-like groups. A second development elaborates the incantation on repeated sounds, studded with ornamentations and bent by various quarter tone inflections.
This leads to an Adagio, presenting an amplified aspect of the main idea, with the insertion of a whispered micro-scherzo, and various musical comments. Amongst them are the shadow of Mozart (from a short expressive moment of Quartet K. 458, second movement) and allusions to the main moments of the work.
Gilles Tremblay (Translation: Marc Hyland)