June 1st, 1984
A globe Itself Infolding
October 17, 2017 in Montreal and October 18, 2017 at Carnegie Hall (NYC)
Montreal-born composer and conductor Samy Moussa has a flourishing career in Canada, France, and Germany, where he now lives. Both of Moussa’s operas, L’autre frère and Vastation, were premiered at Munich Biennales, in 2010 and 2014. Pierre Boulez commissioned him to write an orchestral work for the Lucerne Festival, which was premiered in 2015. Also that year, Moussa was named Quebec’s “Composer of the Year” by the Conseil québécois de la musique (Opus Prize). As a conductor, he has led the Vienna Radio Orchestra, Leipzig Radio Orchestra, and Staatskapelle Halle, among others; this season he conducts the Quebec Symphony and Munich State Opera Orchestra.
Kent Nagano has commissioned a number of works from Moussa. These include Léviathan (2005), the two Etudes Gegenshein and Zodiakallicht (2009), A Globe Itself Infolding (2014), Nocturne (2015, dedicated to Moussa’s principal composition teacher at the Université de Montréal, José Evangelista), and Symphony no. 1, “Concordia,” a forty-minute orchestral paean to the city of Montreal premiered by the OSM and the multimedia studio Moment Factory just a few months ago (May 31) as part of the celebrations marking the city’s 375th anniversary.
A Globe Itself Infolding was given its world premiere by the OSM under Kent Nagano on May 29, 2014 with Jean-Willy Kunz as organ soloist at a concert inaugurating the Pierre-Béique Grand Organ at Montreal’s Maison symphonique. Its American premiere took place just last month in Dallas, and the OSM plays it again in Carnegie Hall.
The title derives from words in William Blake’s epic poem Milton, as well as from similar words in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, where we find “a fire itself infolding.” In the eleven-minute work, the organ is used not so much as a solo instrument as a prominently displayed member of the orchestral fabric. Together organ and orchestra arrive at a series of climactic moments, each reached by a procession of slowly evolving harmonic progressions, layered textures and a wide range of colors.