Torrentfor cello and ensemble of ten instruments (1995)
Torrent, rushing mountain water, fast and irregular. The unforeseeable presented thus in its mad, provocative beauty. Images of dreams, the fateful spark for a human spirit invaded by the desire to master Nature, at the risk of upsetting it. It is a metaphor also: a torrent of thoughts, torrent of tears…
The idea of this work came to me during a journey in the Himalaya mountains. The snow was just starting to melt, filling the streams and creating new, impetuous channels. In truth it was a feast of concrete sounds for my musician’s ears. Sounds, at times close to those produced by electronics, magnified by gripping acoustic perspectives.Contrast too. Lost in the middle of huge stones cascading down, all about you is a silence barely troubled by the beating wings of exotic birds. An analogy took shape in my Western mind: this difficulty of achieving peace of mind, this rupture of the soul that overwhelms you when, thinking you have reached a hint of emptiness, a flood of bristling thoughts submerges you. Inspiration? Why not transcribe these personal reflections into music?
First find the medium. I chose the cello, with its rich voice and scarcely avowed possibilities. A first solo draft : The troubled dream of the orchid (1994). Suddenly, in my music, flowers started to dream, without for all that forgettingthe specific compositional problems, with a technical exploration of the instrument realised that same year in my First book of twelve studies for solo cello. Torrent is the outcome of all this, with its dense, alternating textures and silences barely torn by fragments of bowing. A paradox: in opposition to poetic dreaming, the calculations of computers. But fundamentally, a dialectic inspired by the motions of the human soul, by those of the body, with its desires, its necessities and its prisons.
This work is dedicated to the talent and to the fertile imagination of the cellist Jean-Paul Dessy, as well as to the kindness of Maud Lambiet, with my thanks for all the encouragement she showered me with during the composition of this ‘torrent’ of music. Its composition was made possible thanks to the financial support of the French Community of Belgium.(Claude LEDOUX)