Année de composition
12 minutes
Chamber Orchestra : flute (also piccolo), oboe (also oboe d’amore), Bb clarinet, bassoon, 2 horns, trumpet, trombone, tuba, percussionist, piano (also celesta), 2 violins, viola, cello and double bass (or string orchestra

This piece for orchestra, composed in 1971 for the anniversary of Dürer’s birth, was premiered in December of the same year in Nuremberg, the German painter’s hometown.


The title Melodian comes from the fact that melodic lines are born from the harmonic structure that orders them. Then, gaining their independence, they fly away, close in on themselves, or on the contrary stretch out, multiple and divergent, however, without sudden harmonic change, as in traditional music, but by a slow and as if invisible transformation. From there are born disturbing luminous dews, a kind of iridescent sonority: the music is stabbed by light from behind. It then becomes serious, like this light observed from the shadow.

There is no question of detecting any motif, any outline of a theme among these twenty-five or so melodic “silhouettes”: perhaps here an ostinato, followed by a slow movement that twists into a spiral, there a strident ornamentation. Ligeti lays out, as if a theme were being stated, but the idea of theme is absolutely foreign to this music. There is only a sketch: “Everything is taken out of the circuit before it is completely sketched out. ”


This music, fixed without respite, without any caesura, gives the impression of flowing continuously, as if it had no beginning or end. We hear a cutting of something that has already begun. Thus the heavy curtain of our life constellated with opaque tears, radiant memories or perpetually unfulfilled desires. It is that “music is in a kind of metaphorical relationship with the two meanings of the word”.


Jean Noël Von der Weid

Création mondiale
December 10th, 1971 | Nuremberg, Germany
Schott – ED6334

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