Among Quebec’s contemporary music composers, Denis Gougeon is noticeable for his music that is both demanding and accessible, dynamic, energetic, and that contains rich and moving melodic cells.
Being a lone worker, used to control all aspects of musical composition (time and idea in particular), I had to learn by myself how to have music serve a text which has repercussion on me in a highly sympathetic manner. Without this affinity with Koltès’ wording, I would never have accepted this task. All the credit belongs to Denis Marleau, for it is he who felt the correlations between this text by Koltès and my music. (August, 1992)
It has been said that Maîtres anciens is essentially music, a kind of verbal fugue. And finding one’s voice among this formidable confusion of words was not easy. I believe to have found it by evoking Reger’s profound humanity, beyond this great uproar of detestation. For as true music is just not found elsewhere then between the notes, the emotion conveyed by Thomas Bernhard only exists between the words; it is this emotion that I have tried to follow up with, discreetly and modestly, by entrusting the string quartet with music that is fragile and that reveals the drama of human loneliness. (June, 1997)
Le Passage de l’Indiana is an ocean, and its exploration is a matter for bathometry. It begins by surface diving while holding one’s breath, matter of discovering the compass of the subject: immense! Then, one attempts to become autonomous by putting on the driver’s gear: clearly insufficient. One then invents a submarine, but it is the bathyscaphe that soon becomes essential. Profound, very profound and vast ocean. With the exploration of each new area, with each new descent, another treasure is revealed: beauty, refinement, powerful evocations and a precise language, complex characters, games of truths and lies, masks, manipulations, hidden treasures (discovered, then stolen), failed loves, astonishing ambiguities… And the constant lulling presence of music. But this music was already in me. Where does it come from? It comes from Le Passage de l’Indiana in my life. (February, 1996)
In order to give the listener a more general perception of the music’s presence in Nathan le Sage, I decided to sew, end to end, the various acoustic interventions. This music can therefore be seen as an uninterrupted suite of movements that glides one upon the other. It suggests the journey in “accelerated time” of the music that accompanies the characters’ destiny, while bringing at the forefront the undercurrent tension present throughout the story.