Lumières Cendrées – Alain Louvier


Chamber music for 15 players

Orchestra score and parts in digital version on sale.

Orchestra score and parts in printed version for hire. Contact us

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Lumières Cendrées – Alain Louvier

Chamber music for 15 players

Premiere by the Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain on July 29, 2021, Festival Messiaen.

Orchestra score and parts in digital version on sale.

Orchestra score and parts in printed version for hire. Contact us

Author’s note

Written at the request of Bruno Mantovani for the Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, Lumières Cendrées takes up most of my research, deepened since the 1970s, first of all a personal micro-tonal language based on modal scales in quarter tones.

With time, a need for synthesis appears little by little, clearly expressed in this work. But Lumières Cendrées also has an autobiographical aspect, as the dedication attests:

.. to all the people who have illuminated my life and are now only ashes…

Beyond the allusion to the Moon, ash-colored, but discreetly illuminated by the Earth (astronomical sense of ashen light), this title, in the plural, will evoke the wonder of a child musician, or later dazzlements, forever imprinted in my memory.
I did not personally know all these beings-become-ashes…some of them passed on to me their knowledge, their science, their sounds…with others of these beings, I lived.
Many of them enlightened me, very young, with their music, their thoughts, their poetry.
Thus Beethoven willingly lent me three notes to begin my entry into Nature… and very quickly, adding a sharp, I met Bartok, Grieg, Couperin or Janacek, depending on the wind direction…

…awakening…. of pleasant impressions…arriving in the countryside…secret ramifications…. (these words, these short sentences, peppering the score, are intended to enlighten the poetics, thus the interpretation) The 24 quarter tones arrive rather quickly in the landscape, with a personal alphabet linking them to the 26 letters… That’s it for the secret code….other sentences are more explicit, evoking precise episodes:

…Rome, bird-mystery….fugue in flashes…ancient birds…iridescent light…wandering ladders… …illuminated narrative…Licht…light…luce….lux…Liebe…the seven colors of the rising sun…

The light, present in many of my titles, takes on changing colors here, as the seduction precedes the ash-gray that covers it.
Homage to the “color-chords” of my master Messiaen, that I dare to irradiate with my imperfect mode (between major and minor); that of Canto di Natale (1976), or of Anneaux de Lumière (1983) where two pianos are shifted by a quarter of a tone, arranged like a big insect. Unknown light until then, diffracting to infinity the resonances of the keyboards… total illumination that I still feel… follies campanaries…

…. glare…rings of light…fusion…light spectrum…dust of ants…

Coming from the heights and the depths, a Song of Ashes emerges and meanders in the middle of furtive, accelerated, agglomerated, desperate plainsongs… secretly transforming the ancestral Latin into an improbable melody…
…song of the Ashes…libera me Domine…ultimate screams…cloud of ashes…
Finally the harp, until then almost silent, descends like a gentle caress, then with power, tuned in heptaic temperament, keeping only the A from the orchestra… this perfect equality between the seven notes announces a new music:
…heptaic draperies…victimae paschalis laudes…Äase mors et vita…winds of ashes…
Music of the future, more serene, which banishes alterations and dissonances, whose strange melodies are united to the breath of ashes erasing the past

…intimate letters…memento regina cancricans…

The Ashes alone will understand.


Additional information


Digital sheet music for immediate download



15-20 mn


Ensemble, More than eight musicians