Diachronie Ensemble with Olivier Murith

Second prize at the 2020 Diachronie Composition Competition

O.L.D. stands for “Obsessive Love Disorder”. That is the reason why the entire work is based on a so called “idee fixe” consisting of the notes F, E, A and E flat (followed, at some focal points, by the resolution I decided to use : the note “D”). It may come in a different order or transposition, but that is definitely in the original order (F-E-A-Eflat) that the motive is intended to be the most powerful.

At the beginning, the cello exposes and plays very insistently the “idee fixe”. The reactions of the other instruments change gradually from compassionate to upset : they want to get rid of their obsessive thought. After the introduction, here is how I built the first part of the piece (letter B TO J): I intentionally did not use the notes of the “idee fixe”, which creates an interesting mode of eight notes. In this mode, I choose very tortuous melodic lines (based on a motive G-G sharp-D) while the accompaniment hightlights the note D over all : here they are searching for a resolution without thinking about the obsession.

However, the obsessive motive reappears progressively in the melodic lines (letter D) and the accompaniment starts to highlight these notes instead of the “D” (note of resolution). At first the obsessive motive cannot be heard clearly, but then the appearances of F-E-A-Eflat become closer and closer. Finally the main motive comes back in its original form at least twice (43 and 56), which causes a reaction of rage for the instruments who were trying to forget about the obsession. This rage leads to an emotionally strong passage (letter I) with the “idee fixe” played in subharmonics by the strings. At letter J begins the second part (with a powerful resolution on “D”). Here the music will try once again to get over the obsession. Thus, the same concept as before is used in the following bars (from letters J to P) but this time the reaction of rage due to a new failed attempt is way more violent.

After the second subharmonics part, a second resolution can be heard (letter Q). Here begins the third part. I have tried to depict a hallucinatory atmosphere with a sort of enlarged tonality of D major. If there was a main character in this piece of music, it would be the part where she/he becomes slowly mad. The combination of the “idee fixe” with the resolution shows that the character prefers to live into the illusion she/he has created instead of facing the reality. At the end, we can see with the repeated notes that she/he is totally losing her/his mind in a delusion.

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