Pièce de résistance

Composition Date: 1993
Revision Date: 1993
Duration: 00:10:00
Genre: Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Full Orchestra (20 or more)


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 2 x Flute
  • 2 x Oboe
  • 2 x Clarinet
  • 2 x Bassoon
  • 4 x Horn
  • 2 x Trumpet
  • 3 x Trombone
  • 1 x Tuba
  • 1 x Timpani
  • 2 x Percussion
  • 1 x Unspecified bowed strings
Instrumentation Set Number 2:
  • 1 x Full orchestra
Programme Note:
“Pièce de résistance” is an invitation to an awareness of an environmental sound that goes beyond the one normally associated with the orchestra. This explains why I did not hesitate to integrate concrete sounds (i.e. from nature) to the “normal” sounds produced by instruments. Furthermore, the percussions play a dominant role in the work, which was not only aimed at pleasing the percussionists.

The form is free and only calls on the composer’s imagination. When composing this piece, I was only slightly concerned with repeated thematic material, thus the music “moves forward” and constantly develops new ideas. I was partially inspired by the process of “Chain Form” devised by the Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski in his works during the 80s. This process, as its name indicates, “links” musical ideas one after the other without repeating any of them. For it to work, the composer must allow the listener time to assimilate an idea before presenting a new one. One can speak of a technique consisting of augmentation rather than of synthesis, the latter being prevalent during the Classical Period.

I also wanted to stir up our perception of time. Certain sections of the work follow a regular pulse while others seem to interrupt the relentless ticking of time. The music alternates between passages of traditional notation and passages of free notation where musicians repeat short phrases over a determined duration. In these “aleatoric” sections, the conductor gives the signal to the musicians to begin their phrases, after a couple of seconds the orchestra seems completely disorganized, conjuring up deliberate obscurity.

I intentionally planed these numerous voyages between apparently incompatible worlds of sounds, in order to put to test your resistance; hence the title. Don’t worry; it will not be painful. On the contrary, it will quickly become enjoyable as you put yourselves in the right frame of mind. Let yourselves go and you will also recognize two references to music of the past, not only will you able to travel through spatial sounds, you will also have the power to travel through time.


  • Call Number:
  • MI 1100 D459pi
  • Genre:
  • Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Full Orchestra (20 or more)
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • November 29, 1994
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 partition ((3), 43 p.) ;
    46 Pages
    Height: 36 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • Ms (photocopie); l'original se trouve au CMC Montréal
    2222/4231/timb, perc (2)/cordes.
    Durée: 10 :00
    Commande de l'Association des Orchestres de jeunes du Québec.
    Suitable for youth & community orchestras.
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Copies of this work are available for loan from: Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver