Pour la Terre (1989)

Duration – 18’55”

Pour la Terre, was composed during 1988-1989 at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in Paris. Today the title may seem to imply an ecological message, but 20 years ago when I composed this piece, much of my work seemed to reflect on a world-wide hyper-anxiety about the human condition, heightened by the marked increase in global strife and a sense that things were not going to get better anytime soon. It may be worth noting in this regard that the laboratories and studios at IRCAM were a few stories underground and entering directly from a large plaza outside, down the steps into the subterranean facility, was very much like descending into a bunker each day. Pour la Terre is not program music, there is no literal message. But the gradually increasing intensity of the piece, leading the listener eventually through a very large mass of sound into a musical chiaroscuro with incessant tolling “gongs” marking time with growing urgency while at the same time a lighter, somewhat plaintive lyrical obbligato slowly draws a path to the end, does tend to convey a mostly disquieting narrative.