Chant des rochers

From Wind Repertory Project
Gerald Levinson

Gerald Levinson

General Info

Year: 1978
Duration: c. 12:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Theodore Presser
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - Rental


Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute/Alto Flute
Oboe/English Horn
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • China Cymbals
  • Crotales
  • Glockenspiel
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Chant des rochers was commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture in honor of the 70th birthday of Olivier Messiaen and first performed by the Ensemble Ars Nova, conducted by Marius Constant, at the Festival de Besancon in 1978. It is scored for eleven wind instruments, harp, piano, and percussion.

The piece is an homage to Messiaen by way of the mountain landscapes which were so dear to him. Its basic "sound images" evoke the majestic and craggy peaks and glaciers of the Dauphiné where Messiaen (and Berlioz) found inspiration. Some of these are derived from the sounds of Tibetan ritual music, a mountain music par excellence. The central section is a kind of musical puzzle in which a coded message to Messiaen is inscribed into the music, using a musical alphabet of his invention. It is accompanied by two layers of wind chords marking out permutations of a series of durations whose values constantly add up to 70. Finally, each word is separated from the next by a silence (filled in by soft gong strokes) whose duration is given by the numerological value of the letters of the word, so that in effect (at least fancifully), the message is articulated twice: once in sounds and again in the silences.

This work, written while Messiaen was at the height of his powers, is one of two homages I have paid him my music; the other is the Adagio-finale of my Second Symphony, dedicated to him in memoriam in 1994.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • New England Conservatory (Boston, Mass.) Symphonic Winds (William Drury, conductor) – 15 October 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Levinson, G. (1978). Chant des rochers : pour quinze instrumentistes [score]. [s.n.]:[s.l.].