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On the wings of the morning

  • Category / Instrument : Piano and orchestra
  • Orchestration : 4(2picc).4(2ca).3(+clB).4(cbn) / 6.4.3(+trbB).1 / 2perc / 2timb /
  • Duration : 25'
  • Genre : contemporary
  • Sortiment : Score
  • Number of pages : 92
  • Format : 48 x 32 cm
  • Publisher : Lemoine
  • Code : 29047
  • Published : 26/03/2012
  • ISBN / ISMN : 9790230990479


30/11/2012 - Köln (Germany), Philharmonie - Nicolas Hodges (piano), WDR sinfonieorchester Köln, Ilan Volkov (conductor)


Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln


to Nicolas Hodges


The title of this concerto is taken from the classic Aspects of Death in Early Greek Art and Poetry (1979) by American archaeologist and philologist Emily Dickinson Townsend Vermeule. Chapter V is entitled "On the Wings of the Morning: the Pornography of Death". It concerns cases of sudden death, unexpected disappearances, the abduction of males by a kind of bird-woman or lion-woman - Harpies, Sphinxes or Sirens - monstrous creatures whose appeal is fatal. Worshipers of Dionysus have often observed the ease and provocative grace of these temptresses, their wild brash gestures resembling more those of a panther. For the dazzled victim, the flight toward the heights culminates in a macabre embrace. Beating wings, scattered bones, such is the depiction of the "pornography of death".
On the wings of the morning is an allusion to the uncertainties of the present day, to its modern Furies. This piano concerto does not strive for picturesque effects and does not have an illustrative character. The evocation of the "Bacchantes of Hades" is simply a moment of phantasmagoria with the half-light of shadows playing over taut surfaces. The orchestra comports itself like a tumultuous mass whose conflictive dynamic is dominant. The association of the clarinet and trombone sections, conceived as paradoxical material, sets the tonality for entire work: bitter presences, dismal mundanity, and echoless vaults. Time is nothing more than a labyrinth of transitory moments. The pianist takes on the role of the convict from Faulkner's Wild Palms, obliged to paddle along the swollen Mississippi. The Flood, demonic apparitions, wind and cold are his lot. His task is to skirt the depths. This piano is in spirit neither constructivist nor combinatory. It is a spirit of survival, concentrated on the intensification of material and the plasticity of movement.
Commissioned by the Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Cologne, this concerto for piano and large orchestra is dedicated to Nicolas Hodges.

Hugues Dufourt



Hugues Dufourt favours slow transformations of a seldom-interrupted musical discourse. He conceives forms through the evolution of masses and focuses on the concept of thresholds, of oscillations, of interference, and directional procedures. A pioneer of the spectral movement, he, however, gives it a more encompassing definition, [...]


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