Guido Molinari Bi-triangle bleu, 1970
Guido Molinari Bi-triangle bleu, 1970, 196 x 229 cm, acrylique sur toile. Collection de la Fondation Guido Molinari

Champagne, Éric, Quatuor no.1 « Avant la nuit » (2016)

String Quartet no.1 « Avant la nuit »

  • La fin (The End)
  • De fureur et de déchirement (Of Fury and Heartbreak)
  • Éclats de lune (Slivers of the Moon)

Total time : 22 minutes

Commissioned by the Molinari Quartet

Premiered Friday May 27 2016 by the Molinari Quartet at the Montreal Conservatory

I composed this quartet after reading the autobiography of Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990), Before Night Falls. « Avant la nuit »I wasn’t seeking to chronologically reproduce the events of the narrative, but rather to generate emotions and atmospheres that had filled my consciousness while reading.

This biography begins at the end. His death, which he knows to be imminent, will merely be the expected conclusion of the illness, AIDS, consuming his body. Though he had begun writing his story years before, within it he expresses the urgency of finishing “before night falls”, before his death. The second movement evokes his tumultuous life in Cuba, between his naive hope in the revolution (echoes of The Internationale)and the deception that followed, between his will to survive and the repression of the Castro regime. The final movement returns to the atmosphere of the first, but presents a lyrical escape – inspired by the moon, his protective goddess – that takes flight in spite of the fatal presence of illness (an underlying omnipresent three-note motive based on the French acronym for AIDS –SIDA– [si]-B, D, A).

Lacking social welfare and receiving little to no medical treatment, Arenas chose to end his life in 1990, after having completed his literary work.

Sheet music available at the Canadian Music Center

Éric Champagne

Winner of the Opus prize Composer of the Year (2020) and Discovery of the Year (2014), composer Éric Champagne holds a Master’s Degree in Composition from the Université de Montréal. Composers he has studied with include Michel Tétreault, François-Hugues Leclair, Michel Longtin, Denis Gougeon, Luis de Pablo, José Evangelista, John McCabe, and Gary Kulesha.

His music is regularly performed in Quebec, across Canada, and in the United States, Europe, and India by distinguished ensembles and soloists such as the Academic Orchestra of Zurich (Switzerland), symphony orchestras in Montréal, Quebec City, Vancouver and Kitchener-Waterloo, the Orchestre de la Francophonie (Montreal), the Orchestre Symphonique de l’Estuaire (Rimouski), the National Academy Orchestra of Canada (Hamilton), the Toronto Youth Symphony Orchestra, the McGill Wind Symphony, the University of Oklahoma Wind Symphony, the Molinari String Quartet, the Fibonacci Trio, wind quintet Pentaèdre, Zefirino Ensemble (Switzerland) and the percussion ensemble Sixtrum. Having been composer-in-residence of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain from 2012 to 2014, Éric Champagne continues to be a regular collaborator on a variety of musical and pedagogical projects. He is also composer-in-residence at the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur in Montréal from 2016 to 2018.

More recently, his musical theater adaptation of The Little Prince by Saint-Exupéry - directed by Sophie Cadieux and conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin – was produced by the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde and broadcast by Télé-Québec.

Éric Champagne has been awarded numerous prizes and honours including the Prix du CALQ-Création de l’année-Montréal for his First Symphony premiered in March 2014 by the Orchestre Métropolitain, the University of Oklahoma’s Michael Hennagin Memorial Composition Prize for his piece Champ-de-Mars, par jour de lumière, the Prix collégien de musique contemporaine for his orchestral piece Vers les astres, first prize in the composition competition of the Orchestre de l’Université de Montréal, and first prize in the organ composition competition of Sherbrooke’s Ensemble Musica Nova.

Éric Champagne is actively involved in the dissemination of contemporary music and of culture on a broader scale. He is the author of articles, interviews, and reviews published in magazines and journals such as Circuit, L’Opéra revue québécoise d’art lyrique, La Scena musicale, Intersections, Estuaire, and L’Entracte, as well as online at Cette ville étrange. Moreover, he has given numerous musical creation workshops and guest conferences in elementary and secondary schools, colleges, and universities in addition to teaching at the Camp musical Père Lindsay. (English translation : Stacey Brown)

Other ressources


Share this page:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin

Support the video library

Viewing videos on this site is free.
You can make a donation to support the activity and the continuation of this project.

The video library

Other videos