Yves Daoust

Programme notes


This work was inspired by the Fantasie-Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Opus 66 for piano by Frederic Chopin, which I recorded note by note with a sequencer hocked up to a digital piano/synthesizer — a modern equivalent, so to speak, of yesterday’s player-piano rolls. I extracted a few key motifs from the score and created a series of ‘Chopin’-objects defined by their characteristics: attacks, resonances, allures [a Schaefferian term, in French, for ‘sound behaviour’ or vibrato], harmonic timbre…

The work is an attempt to convey the feverishness of Chopin’s writing through the unleashing of floods of MIDI data, pushing this technique to its limits: swirls of motives and arpeggios continuously accelerating to saturation, the crystallization of time into extremely dense units which are in turn modified and sculpted by various processes.

I had given myself the challenge of realizing the piece with very simple means, using commercial instruments designed for popular rather than experimental music.

Impromptu was realized in 1994 at the composer’s studio. It premiered in Montréal on June 19, 1994. The piece was commissioned by ACREQ with the help of the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA).


  • June 19, 1994, 2e concert 15e anniversaire, Salle Redpath — Université McGill, Montréal (Québec)
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Composer(s): Yves Daoust
  • Year of composition: 1994
  • Commission: ACREQ, with support from the CCA
  • ISWC: T0715183257
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • ISRC: CAD509813390

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