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Music Text

Claude Vivier (F-imaginary language)


S; 1.picc.2.2.2- gong/Chinese gong/tam-t/BD/brake drs/vib/t.bells-strings( players)

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes (Hendon Music)

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Vancouver, BC
Marie-Danielle Parent, soprano / CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra / Serge Garant
Composer's Notes

Lonely Child is a long song of solitude. For the musical construction I wanted to have total power for expression, for musical development on the piece I was composing without using chords, harmony or counterpoint. I wanted to work up to very homophonic music that would be transformed into one single melody, which would be “intervalized.” I had already composed a first melody heard at the beginning of the piece for dancers. I subsequently developed this melody in five “intervalized” melodic fragments that is by adding one note below each note, which creates intervals—thirds, fifths, minor seconds, major seconds etc. If the frequencies of each interval are added, a timbre is created. Thus, there are no longer any chords, and the entire orchestra is then transformed into a timbre. The roughness and the intensity of this timbre depends on the base interval. Musically speaking, there was only one thing I needed to control, which automatically, somehow, would create the rest of the music, that is great beams of color!

— Claude Vivier

Reproduction Rights:
This program note may be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with a credit to the composer.

Press Quotes

"...a work of astonishing beauty and fragility as well as desperate sadness, in which the vocal line swerves between declamation and ululation over shifting orchestral textures, as tuned eastern percussion and sudden drum strokes alternately beguile and threaten."
The Guardian

"An orphan himself, Vivier openly yearned for a mother's love, and nowhere expressed that yearning more than in this piece, where the anguish of loneliness is transformed into music of surpassing tenderness..."
The Times

Recommended Recording

Schönberg Ensemble / ASKO Ensemble / Reinbert de Leeuw / Susan Narucki
Philips 454 231-2
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