La porte de l’enfer

A piece for six voices and eight instruments, written in 2016 for the Talea Ensemble and EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble, premiered at Royaumont Abbey (Paris) on September 9, 2016.

This piece is inspired by Auguste Rodin’s statue La porte de l’enfer which represents the souls imprisoned behind the gate of hell: the damned figures, trying to detach themselves from the
surface are incapable to escape it completely. From the side of the living, we can hear the lament coming from behind, the ascending melodies move away from the instrumental sonority, but the voices are promptly pulled down, trapped by the instruments. The cello, as Dante’s Minos who assigns the souls to their rightful punishment by the wrapping of his tail, is the instrument which leads the fall with a descending movement of enlarged microtonal tritones, with an explicit reference to Liszt’s Dante Sonata. The lament seems a choral moan against the damnation.
But beyond the gate, the atmosphere is different to what we can perceive. It is a cold and metallic environment, reminiscent of a modern city with its buildings made of glass and steel. There, the moan is not choral and each voice, thinking to be alone, ignores the others. The actual hell revealed behind the gate resembles in every aspect our modern, individualistic society, where people take refuge in a false happiness made of money and shallow self- affirmation.


read more on the spatial effect of this piece