Jolivet was a pupil of the avant-garde composer Edgar Varèse, but did not share his enthusiasm for serial technique. Even so, this piece, composed in 1961, has a tightly-knit structure. It begins with a combination of rhetorical proclamations with the unfolding of the material from which the piece is built — an angular construction in the pedals and a melody which convolutes itself around a narrow span of notes, rather in the manner of a chanted oriental prayer. It appears first as a dialogue of quiet flutes, and then the trompette starts another dialogue which builds up as the incantatory lines gather clustered chords. Then all is quiet again as the trompette re-adopts the chant,the angular pedal line providing a passacaglia-like repetition. The intensity grows until marching strides are reinforced by rhetoric as the music moves towards an apocalyptic final chord.
from notes by Ian Carson © 1991