Pulau Dewata


A stay in Bali in 1976 marked a turning point in Claude Vivier’s career. Most of the subsequent works were to show the influence of the atmosphere of this Pacific Island, whose inhabitants call it the “Island of the Gods”, or Pulau Dewata. This is the title given by Vivier to a work specifically dedicated to the people of Bali. The composer describes it as follows: “This piece is a succession of nine melodies of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 sounds. These modes may be directly reminiscent of Bali, but what I wanted to write was a piece imbued with the spirit of Bali: its dances, its rhythms and above all, an explosion of life, simple and candid. The ending is the traditional signature of many Balinese pieces, a loving homage to this marvellous people from whom I learned so much.”

Claude Vivier CA

Claude Vivier was born in 1948 in Montreal, and studied composition with Gilles Tremblay and piano with Irving Heller at the Conservatory there. He subsequently went to Europe to study composition with Karlheinz Stockhausen and electronic music with Gottfried Michael Koening and Hans Ulrich Humpert. In 1977 Vivier undertook a long journey to Asia and the Middle East. The great variety of musical he encountered had the effect, paradoxically, of purifying his own musical expression. Following a few years teaching in Montreal and Ottawa, he devoted his time entirely to composition. He was writing a piece prophetically titled Do you believe in the immortality of the soul when he died in Paris on March 7th in 1983.

Claude Vivier