Claude Vivier (1948-83) - Et je reverrai cette ville étrange

Recorded live on 28th February 2008. Duration: 15 minutes 49 seconds

Et je reverrai cette ville étrange
One of the most remarkable composers of his time - hailed as such by György Ligeti - Vivier created a personal style of incantatory melody floated in shadowy clouds of tone. He was born in Montréal, where he studied with one of Messiaen's pupils - Gilles Tremblay - before going to Cologne in 1972 for two years of further training with Stockhausen, who made a crucial impact on him. Soon after returning to Canada he established himself nationally, while working towards the new voice he sought - one that would express the sensuality and spirituality he felt integral to himself as a homosexual. This voice at last came to sound in his Lonely Child for soprano and orchestra, which he completed in March 1980.

After that, for a year and a half, he composed at a furious pace, one of the last works of this period being Et je reverrai cette ville étrange ('And I will again see that strange city'), which he wrote for the Canadian group Arraymusic. Perhaps the title refers to his restless search for an ideal place, musical and social. The six players, on trumpet, viola, cello, double bass, piano and percussion, project a melody that goes out into the world steadfastly without harmonic support, like plainsong, creating for 15 minutes a strange and memorable location indeed.

© Paul Griffiths 2008

Nicholas KokConductor

Tracey Lloyd Trumpet
Richard Casey Piano
Tim Williams Percussion
Raymond Lester Viola
Juliet Welchman Cello
Jeffrey BoxDouble Bass

Psappha’s YouTube Channel

You can also visit Psappha’s YouTube Channel, where you can watch:

  • Films of works by emerging composers
  • Films of Psappha’s Hong Kong Residency (2013)
  • All of the films on Psappha’s website