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The composition of Souffle coupé began immediately following the events of 13 November 2015 in Paris, even though I’d had the idea of writing a wind quintet in mind for quite a few months. Concerning the construction of the music, five separate parts is a somewhat natural form in my music, having written quintet music for strings-only, then in the mixed wind and strings quintet Diversions of 2003, leading to the even more diverse timbres of the wind quintet as in Souffle coupé. Certainly the circumstances when beginning to compose the work resulted in the solemn ambiance of the opening elegiac movement, placing independent lines in dialogue with each other. These lines, while lyrical, are always preoccupied with the overall harmonic context of the group, perhaps to the extent of constraining each individual instrument from expressing their own voice too individually, through any overt virtuosity. In a sense, this aspect prevails through the entire work.
While the work is in three separate and contrasting movements, recalling traditional classical form, each movement grows out of material presented in the preceding movement (or movements). The second movement, "La ville reprend sa vie", includes textures of lighter density, reducing the dialogue down to two voices in several instances, while searching for a corresponding lighter ambiance, which is suggested towards the end of the movement. To conclude Souffle coupé, the third and final movement, "Epilogue", is somewhat reflective in nature – expressive of the social reflection prompted by the traumatic events that struck the cities of Saint-Denis and Paris.
- Élégie (Lento)
- La ville reprend sa vie (Allegro moderato)
- Épilogue (Moderato)