BURNING BRIGHT – Hugues Dufourt

Composition : Hugues Dufourt
Commission : French state and Percussions de Strasbourg.
Coproduction : Percussions de Strasbourg / Musica, with the support of ADAMI.
Lights creation : Enrico Bagnoli.
World Première : 25.09.2014, Festival Musica, Strasbourg, FR
Team : 6 percussionists

Written to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the percussion ensemble Percussions de Strasbourg, Burning Bright borrows its title from William Blake’s famous poem The Tyger, published in 1794.

This incandescent poem celebrates the collision of opposites which gives the truest representation of the world and is the source of all creative power. The age-old conflict between “innocence” and “experience”, those “two contrary states of the human soul”, courses through all of Blake’s work, lending his poetry both its tragic aspect and its visionary tone. A non-conformist freethinker who was vehemently opposed to all forms of moral, theological or political oppression, Blake supported the French Revolution and denounced the enslavement of African-Americans. Despite his worldly engagements, he did not abandon his mystic quest, which – in the tradition of Dante and Milton – he considered the only feasible way of articulating the splendour of one’s inner illuminations. The wild and eruptive fury of his visions inspires fear and terror. Yet, from the abyss of misery, mankind can perceive the rise of a burning light, which indicates, without any promise, a possible alternative to the savage rule of force.

Composed as one single piece, like an immense adagio in the manner of Bruckner, Burning Bright’s poetic vision breaks with the traditional techniques of demarcation, with all its contours and closures. The music rises in layers, or unfolds in abundant and meandering surges. The varying depths of the timbres, fading towards an indeterminate horizon, create their own resonant space. Sounds – swelling, diffusing, writhing – blend like fluids or gases. Working on timbre is but the art of retouching. The drift of coloured masses replaces the interplay of formal arrangements beloved of the last century. Friction takes over from customary percussion techniques.

Following Blake’s example, Burning Bright rallies elementary energies: a drama with neither narrative nor anecdote, its unity emerges through telluric rumblings. Not unlike the films of Stanley Kubrick, it uncovers a vast space, which could well become, despite the hopes of our times, a space of eternal confinement.

Hugues Dufourt

Traduction : Rieke Trimcev 


  • 25.09.14 – Festival Musica, Strasbourg
  • 27.11.14 – Festival Rainy Days, Philharmonie du Luxembourg
  • – Festival Musica, Strasbourg
  • 27.11.14 – Festival Rainy Days, Philharmonie du Luxembourg
  • 20.01.15 – La Coupole, Saint-Louis
  • 18.11.15 – Festival Manca, Théâtre National de Nice
  • 21.11.15 – Musée Tinguely, Bâle
  • 15.11.16 – Festival Milano Musica, Milan
  • 10.12.16 – Eglise Saint-Paul, Strasbourg
  • 29.06.17 – Cité de la Musique et de la Danse, Strasbourg
  • 03.11.17 – Wien Modern, Vienne (AUT)
  • 13-14.11.17 – CRR de Paris
  • 19.05.18 – GMEM, Friche de la Belle de Mai, Marseille
  • 11.01.19 – Scène Nationale d’Issoudun
  • 26.08.19 – Jardins Musicaux, Cernier, Suisse
  • 03.09.2022 – Abbaye de Royaumont
  • 09.02.2023 – Théâtre de Hautepierre, Strasbourg
  • 29.07.2023 – Festival Messiaen au Pays de la Meije