L’heure mauve

Simon Martin

  • Year of composition: 2010
  • Duration: 11:07
  • Instrumentation: 3 classical guitars


ISRC CAA4J1510040

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

Through observation and reflection, Ozias Leduc made his art and life “a quest for the unity of things, a deliberate adventure of the senses.” (Robert Bernier, Un siècle de peinture au Québec, Montréal, Les Éditions de l’Homme, 1999, p. 67. [English translation: Alexis Diamond]) For this work, I took inspiration from the gaze, as much plastic as spiritual that Leduc directed towards the Mont Saint-Hilaire and its surrounding landscapes. Between 1913 and 1921, he painted a series of Symbolist canvases on the subject, the last of which is entitled Mauve Twilight.

I chose this title because it addresses both time and colour, two components sufficient to summarize a mountain hike, from dawn until dusk. In terms of this piece of music, the idea of colour makes direct reference to matter, of which Leduc had an extremely modern vision. In his mind, “All works of art should be governed by this basic principle: ’Adapt matter to its particular purpose.’ This means treating a substance according to its requirements and its capacity.” (Ozias Leduc, an Art of Love and Reverie, exhibition catalogue, Quebec: Musée du Québec; Montréal: Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, 1996, p. 25.) At the same time, Leduc believed that the ultimate goal of each individual must be respected. Borduas was able to say of his master: “I owe him that rare permission to pursue one’s own fate.” (Paul-Émile Borduas, “Some Thoughts about the Work of Love and Dream[s] of Monsieur Ozias Leduc”, Écrits/Writings 1942-1958, introduced and edited by François-Marc Gagnon, translated by François-Marc Gagnon and Dennis Young, Halifax, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1978, p. 113.) The dimension of time captures the development and patient observation of matter. Ozias Leduc lived until the age of ninety (1864-1955), and one might say he did so with proverbial slowness; Riopelle once said that the oak wood used to make the table in Leduc’s studio came from a tree he once planted himself… Depicted this way, time is naturally imbued with a spiritual quality.

Artist, thinker, poet, letter writer, president of school commission, city councilor, and apple grower, Leduc also knew how to collaborate with politicians, representatives of the Church, and avant-garde artists as well as citizens. In his widom and diplomacy, he also seemed to perceive the diverging opinions of his contemporaries as facets of an inseparable whole. This vision is summarized in a presentation Leduc made to the Saint Hyacinth Historical Society, in 1930: “I tried to make my art come alive, by considering our little hometown, Saint Hilaire, as an entity that would be our work of art and that everyone, all of its inhabitants, working in concert, would perfect and improve!” (Cited in “Hommage à Ozias Leduc”, in the Cahier d’histoire of the Beloeil-Mont-Saint-Hilaire Historical Society, 17th year, N. 49, February 1996. [English translation: Alexis Diamond]) Having lived in the region myself, I wrote the work as a response to his call.

[English translation: Alexis Diamond]


  • April 21, 2011, La guitare selon Montréal, Studio-théâtre — Place des Arts, Montréal (Québec)