The modern flute of Boehm has incited an extremely virtuosic repertoire: theatrical works with superficial musical content, special effects cataloging the instrument’s idiosyncrasies and technical possibilities, pastiches of famous romantic violin concerti. It is certainly an outdated repertoire, but remains very flattering for the performer.
The instrumental part of Adagio was realized from 192 excerpts of virtuoso works well-known to any flutist (Boehm, Kuhlau, Tulou, Molique, Doppler, Fauré…). These excerpts are interspersed with quotations from the adagio of Mozart’s Quartet K 285 for flute, violin, viola and violoncello. Omnipresent both in the instrumental part and on the tape, Mozart’s adagio is intermingled with sounds of daily life: traffic, telephone ringing, a cultural radio program (in which Lise Daoust, the performer, is interviewed), television, music lessons.
The writing is fragmented, and continually interrupted. The performer desperately tries to bring together all of the strewn pieces, to match them into a coherent discourse.
Her imaginary pianist (in the concert version, a piano is placed near the flutist) serves as an anchor to reality. But she rapidly diverts.
Adagio was realized at the composer’s studio in 1985-86 and premiered by the flutist Lise Daoust on April 19, 1987, at the festival Musiques actuelles Nice/Côte d’Azur (MANCA, France). This piece was commissioned by Lise Daoust and realized with support from the Canada Council [for the Arts] (CCA).
This version was recorded at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal in June, 1991 and mixed at the composer’s studio.