Croissant (2001)

Gilles Tremblay

string quartet

Commission: New Music Concerts, for the Penderecki String Quartet, with support from the CCA

Program Notes

To Penderecki String Quartet

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 quartertone 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 45, second movement) and allusions to the main moments of the work, all leading to an inconclusive finish.