work: equinoxe

Equinoxe  (Piano Sonata No. 1)
Two literary sources came to play a decisive role over the genesis of Equinoxe. The first is a sentence from a poem by Paul Valéry after which the composition takes its title: O, what eternity of spontaneous absence / Has just suddenly abridged itself?… The other comes from Jean-Paul Sartre’s play No Exit – in which, faced with timelessness, with life ‘deprived of fractures’, one of the protagonists confronts the idea of temporal discontinuity with this image: “A blink, it was called. A little black lightning, a shutter that clicks down and rises again: the break is done. The eye moistens, the world comes to nothingness. You can’t imagine how refreshing it was. Four thousand rests in an hour. Four thousand little escapes.”

Equinoxe is a piece in which I try to capture some of that ‘little black lightning’, of that ‘spontaneous absence’ – absence, as it may be understood, of the inner self from outer life. To the absolute time of the piece corresponds the virtual time of a blink of the eye; and to demarcate that moment of absence, the composition is framed by two statements which remain largely detached from the rest of the music and which could be compared to those reflex movements of the eyelids that Sartre’s character evokes so longingly.

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commissioned by:
first performance:

8′ 00″

(no public perf. to date)