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Sudoku pour Pygmées (Download) Track listing detail

Sudoku pour Pygmées

Jean Derome

  • Year of composition: 2010
  • Duration: 18:17
  • Instrumentation: baritone saxophone and flute, tenor saxophone and clarinet, violin, trumpet, bass clarinet, electric guitar, piano, double bass and drum kit
  • Commission: Upstream Orchestra, with support from the CCA

Stereo

ISRC CAA4J1810028

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits
In memory of Paul Cram

Sudoku pour Pygmées was composed in March and April 2010 and is based on the Sudoku puzzle in Le Devoir on 26 February, 2010.

Every Sudoku puzzle proposes an ideal contrapuntal structure, a perfect polyphony where all lines work together and where, in each line, values never repeat themselves. Each Sudoku line and square contains 45 units that I divided into 5 groups of 9. I then gave each number a note and rhythmic value.

For horizontal lines, the nine selected notes are in treble clef and form a minor pentatonic scale that starts on Middle C. For the vertical lines, the nine selected notes are in bass clef and form an A-major diatonic scale. The notes in Sections A and B together comprise the twelve notes of the chromatic scale.

Some sections of the piece present notes from A as inversions of their equivalent in B. Other sections (based on the nine squares) are taken as a block and are more bruitiste in nature. The nine selected notes propose an extension of A into the higher register by way of four notes from the whole-tone scale, and an extension of B into the lower register by way of a pentatonic mode reminiscent of Balinese pelog.

I composed nine canons, with each Sudoku line serving as a point of departure. Each canon is introduced on a different instrument in each section, while another player is featured as an improvising soloist.

In fact, it is misleading to describe these as canons, since players do not play each successive line as in a conventional canon. Each has but a single line to play per section, and sticks to it as an actor may play a single character in a theatrical work. All of the lines are equal, unique, and independent, and the beauty of the work resides in their alignment — musical relationships that bring to mind social or political ones.

I never tire of hearing these various ‘canons,’ which take different forms each time, like constellations in the night sky or flowers that each day bloom differently before our bedazzled eyes.

The introduction to Sudoku pour Pygmées is a chorale composed from nine short fragments in four voices. When the melody is in the C-minor pentatonic scale, the other three parts are in the A-major diatonic scale, and vice versa.

The tenor of the piece and the choice of pentatonic scales invokes Pygmy vocal music: the weaving of polyphony, rhythmic urgency, and the independence of different lines. Theirs is a joyful and wise music that has always fascinated me, and this Sudoku is my way to pay homage to these fabulous musicians.

[ix-18]


Sudoku pour Pygmées was composed for A Love Upstream and premiered 14 May, 2010, at St Mary’s University Art Gallery, Halifax, to celebrate Upstream’s 20th Anniversary.


Premiere

7 danses (pour «15»)

Jean Derome

  • Year of composition: 1989
  • Duration: 16:22
  • Commission: Hemispheres
In memory of Nic Gotham and Michael J Baker

7 danses (pour «15») pays tribute to the number 15, since several of its sections are subdivided by it. In each new dance, motifs and themes recur in ways that are recognisable, but each time in a new perspective, like theatrical characters in different lighting scenarios.

Almost thirty years after composing it, I am pleased to discern traits and interests that have characterised many of my pieces since then: An interest in juxtaposing, wedding, and superimposing musical styles, including so-called ‘popular’ or ‘serious’ forms; a fascination with off-kilter rhythmic cycles, like the varied orbits of planets around the sun; and polyphonic composition in which several melodies and countermelodies stratify toward a point of saturation.

[ix-18]


Created at The Music Gallery in Toronto in 1989.


Premiere

  • 1989, Concert, The Music Gallery, Toronto (Ontario, Canada)

7 danses (pour «15»), 1: Folk Dance

Jean Derome

  • Duration: 1:43

Stereo

ISRC CAA4J1810030

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

7 danses (pour «15»), 2: Shuffle

Jean Derome

  • Duration: 3:13

Stereo

ISRC CAA4J1810031

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

7 danses (pour «15»), 3: Rock

Jean Derome

  • Duration: 1:19

Stereo

ISRC CAA4J1810032

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

7 danses (pour «15»), 4: Jazz Waltz

Jean Derome

  • Duration: 3:08

Stereo

ISRC CAA4J1810033

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

7 danses (pour «15»), 5: Invocation Dance

Jean Derome

  • Duration: 1:25

Stereo

ISRC CAA4J1810034

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

7 danses (pour «15»), 6: Pastourelle

Jean Derome

  • Duration: 3:01

Stereo

ISRC CAA4J1810035

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

7 danses (pour «15»), 7: War Dance

Jean Derome

  • Duration: 2:33

Stereo

ISRC CAA4J1810036

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

5 pensées (pour le caoutchouc dur)

Jean Derome

In memory of Ken Pickering

I have long been fascinated by the number 5, epitomized by my compositions in quintuple time, groups of five measures, or five movements. Maybe I counted on my fingers a bit too long during childhood?

Along with being a composer, I have often felt like a hunter or fisher waiting patiently to capture an idea, often in vain. The main difficulty is to accept what has been caught and to be confident that it will lead somewhere.

The piece presents five movements (Pensées, Reflections) in various moods and tenors.

The First Pensée, with the performance instruction “Dark, dramatic mysterious,” is a study in texture that introduces, as in a dream, the principal elements of a canon to be developed in greater depth in the Fourth movement.

The Second Pensée, with the instruction “Relaxed and witty,” is in fact the first one that came to me as I was walking along the street. How happy I was to return home with a place to start, finally! One can perceive a reference (or a reverence) to Thelonious Monk’s Friday the 13th. The piece is dedicated to him, with the working title, “La toune relax” (“The Relaxed Tune”).

The Third Pensée, with the instruction “Processional, noble and expressive,” is a five-voice chorale that twice expands and contracts like the bellows of a giant accordion. It is a prayer of sorts, “Something about Believing,” as Duke Ellington would say. Belief is not the most fashionable subject these days, such that even belief in oneself can be a challenge.

The melody, you may have guessed, is based on a pentatonic scale, which proceeds to unfold on four levels. (I know what you are thinking —— yes, it is probably missing one level here!)

Perhaps the answer arrives with the Fourth Pensée, with the instruction, “Energetic and focused,” and the working title, “The Vancouver Vamp.” Here we reinvestigate rhythmic phasing and off-kilter cycles. The various elements cycle around a four-bar riff like planets orbiting the sun.

The Fifth Pensée has the indication, “Crazy, festive and almost frantic.” It evokes rogue characters like Till l’Espiègle or Wolverine, the cunning mythological ancestor of the Crees and Innu —— clowns as fonts of wisdom. The working title was “Le Coquin d’Amsterdam” (“The Amsterdam Trickster”) in honour of the great Dutch drummer, Han Bennink.

[ix-18]


Premiered in 2001 at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.


Premiere

  • February 12, 2001, Concert, Vancouver East Cultural Centre, Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada)

5 pensées (pour le caoutchouc dur), 1: Première pensée: Dark, dramatic, mysterious

Jean Derome

  • Duration: 2:36

Stereo

ISRC CAA4J1810038

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

5 pensées (pour le caoutchouc dur), 2: Deuxième pensée: Relaxed and witty

Jean Derome

  • Duration: 5:34

Stereo

ISRC CAA4J1810039

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

5 pensées (pour le caoutchouc dur), 3: Troisième pensée: Processional, noble and expresssive

Jean Derome

  • Duration: 3:57

Stereo

ISRC CAA4J1810040

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

5 pensées (pour le caoutchouc dur), 4: Quatrième pensée (Vancouver Vamp): Energetic and focused

Jean Derome

  • Duration: 5:32

Stereo

ISRC CAA4J1810041

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

5 pensées (pour le caoutchouc dur), 5: Cinquième pensée (The Amsterdam Trickster): Crazy, festive and almost frantic

Jean Derome

  • Duration: 4:29

Stereo

ISRC CAA4J1810042

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

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