Le grand méridien (2002)

Walter Boudreau

string quartet

Commission: Quatuor Molinari

Program Notes

Let the adventure begin! In 1988, I wrote the music for a documentary by Marie Décary about two Canadian artists who were part of the Venice Biennial: Roland Brenner and Michel Goulet. Fascinated by images that depicted “contemporary” works parachuted into a Renaissance setting, I made music from this period the basis of my composition, and “contemporized” it using transformational techniques that had developed over the years. I settled on one of 46 motets by Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611) who lived in Venice (!!!) and who immediately seduced me with his four-voice respond “Tradiderunt me in manus impiorum” (They have delivered me into the hands of the wicked). Six other works for various instrumental ensembles followed, all based on the same motet. For the moment (??), Le Grand Méridien, or “The Great Central ‘Nerve’,” concludes this cycle of “Baroque” works, by way of an “extreme” sedimentary process, in which the form and content not only merge, but fuse beyond the kaleidoscopic prism of historical references and psychedelic intoxication of pure invention. The result is an unusual object, itself the bearer of a new “message”…

With this object in mind, a “hard core/heavy metal” instrumental group like the string quartet seemed to me in many ways the ideal brewing pot for this rich alchemical mixture, from which I hoped to distill something like Radium, Nirvana, or Redemption.

Walter Boudreau, 33 janvier 2006 (Trad. C F De Medicis)