Idiot Sorrow

Idiot Sorrow takes its title from a line in Arthur Rimbaud’s Les Illuminations: “. . . en hurlant son songe de chagrin idiot” (“. . . yelling his dream of Idiot Sorrow”). The piece reveals itself in fits and starts: pitches are few and static, and durations and dynamics are black and white, although shades of grey gradually creep in. It was composed by trial and error between 1989 and 1991, and premiered on 1 February 1991 in Toronto by pianist Barbara Pritchard.