The title of this work comes from a book by Japanese writer Yukio Mishima. Le soleil et l’acier (Sun and Steel) refers to the types and processing of the sounds used in the composition and orchestration but mostly to the contrasts that it can trigger in our mind (such as: organic/synthetic, energy/inertia…). The piece has nothing to do with the book of Mishima and does not use any text; the choice of the phonemes is left to the singer. In fact, this piece is inspired by the first hexagram of the Yi King, “K’ien/The Creator” which is composed of six full lines corresponding to the original power, yang, which is luminous, strong, spiritual and active; its image is the sky. The hexagram includes also the power of time, the power of perseverance in time, the duration (see Yi King, The Book of Transformations by Richard Wilhelm).
Le soleil et l’acier was realized at the composer’s studio in Montréal and premiered by Pauline Vaillancourt on February 22nd, 1988 at the Du Maurier Theatre in Toronto. The piece was commissioned by the Canadian Electronic Ensemble (CEE) with assistance of the Ontario Arts Council.
This version was reworked in March 1990 for the play Rivage à l’abandon by Heiner Müller produced by the Carbone 14 theater company (directed by Gilles Maheu), and was recorded at the Studio Nostre Dame (recording engineer: Jean Corriveau) in Montréal.