Two of Longtin's electroacoustic works, Rituel II and Mi e meta, were performed at Place des Arts (June 1972) by the dance group Nouvelle-Aire, which also took part in the premiere of his Pour conjurer la montagne (1977); the latter subsequently became an integral part of La Trilogie de la montagne, which was also premiered by Nouvelle-Aire in 1980. Longtin's instrumental music includes, notably, solo percussion and orchestral music, eg La Route des pèlerins reclus (commissioned by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and premiered in 1985), Autour d'Ainola (premiered and recorded by the Orchestre Métropolitain in 1987), Colère: Berlin '61 (for percussion, 1989) and Hommage à Euler, written for the Orchestre de chambre de Lausanne also in 1989. Longtin wrote Sursolitudes for I Musici in 1994, Lettre posthume de Conrad for chamber orchestra in 2000, and his massive symphonic work (in both scope and length), Quaternions, in 1997; it was premiered by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in March 2003.
Longtin's Musical Language
Though he had a period in the 1970s when he worked mostly on electroacoustic music, Longtin has, over the last 20 years, become a composer of mainly instrumental music. The need to express his intimate feelings made him depart from the strict serial school of the 1950s to develop a musical language favouring the use of components inherent in many systems of musical composition, from mathematically derived forms and harmonies to passages of film music. His influences, which range from Toru Takemitsu and Iannis Xenakis to Leonard Bernstein and Jerry Goldsmith, demonstrate the wide aesthetic palette from which Longtin draws his material, as well as his undogmatic approach to contemporary music. His music harbours many, often rapid, contrasts of these styles, such as heavy dissonant textures leading into an innocent, sentimental, and childlike C-major passage in La Route des pèlerins reclus. He has written programs for certain pieces (a small book in the case of Quaternions). His music manages to make heterogeneous styles coherent through its personal nature, imagination, and emotive character.
Teaching Positions and Memberships
Longtin taught at the University of Montreal 1973-2008 and at the Saint-Laurent CEGEP, at the École Vincent-d'Indy, and at McGill University. He is an associate of the Canadian Music Centre and a member of the Canadian League of Composers.
Embarque, on ira pas vite. 1972. Tape
Le Réveil de Fedhibô. 1972. Tape. Mel SMLP-4027
La Mort du Pierrot. 1972. Tape. RCI 373
La Trilogie de la montagne. 1977-9. Tape. SNE 507
Le Jeu de l'inventaire, musical theatre (M. Garneau). 1981. Wind quintet, actor. Ms
Il était une fois. 1973. Orch, chorus, tape. Ms
Le Pèlerin d'Alnéoïl. 1975. Orch, chorus, tape. Ms
Migration vers l'automne. 1979. Str orch, 2 percussion. Ms
De Saint-Malo à Bourges par Bouffémont. 1981. Ms
Lettre d'Étienne à Jacques. 1983. Ms
La Route des pèlerins reclus. 1984. Ms
Autour d'Ainola. 1986. Ms. Centrediscs CMC-CD-3188 (O métropolitain)
Lettre de Roxana à Décébal Hormuz. 1987. Ms
Paix en migration. 1989. Str orch, speaker. Ms
Citortia. 1990. Chamb orch. Ms
Hommage à Euler. 1990. Ms
Brandon North. 1973. 4 percussion. Ms
Thrène pour Rachel et Dimitri. 1975. 2 fl, 2 violoncello, harp, piano, 2 percussion. Ms
Deux rubans noirs III. 1976. Ob, clarinet, 3 violoncello, 4 percussion. Ms. RCI 498 (SMCQ)
Kata: San Shi Ryu. 1982. Fl, 5 percussion. 2 violoncello, 2 double-bass. Ms. RCI 611 (SMCQ)
Pohjatuuli, hommage à Sibelius. 1983. Cl, 2 horn, trumpet, trombone, 3 percussion, 2 violoncello, 2db. Dob-Yppan 1990. Centrediscs CMC-14-1584/RCI 585 (SMCQ)
Les Jardins d'hiver. 1985. Pf, string quartet, percussion. Ms
Deux rubans noirs pour Serge Garant. 1986. Pf. Ms.
Venu de l'est: hiver '44. 1987. Perc. Ms. SNE 572 (M.-J. Simard)
Colère: Berlin 61. 1989. Perc. Ms
Also film music, including, for NFB, Copies conformes (1973), Poids lourds (1976), Ni scène ni coulisse (1978), and Le Bouffe Pétrole (1982)
Author Pierre Rochon, Evan Ware
Laplante, Louise. 'Longtin's creativity includes orchestra, film scores,' Music Scene, 292, Nov-Dec 1976
PRO Canada. 'Michel Longtin,' pamphlets, 1978, 1982
Gingras, Claude. 'Gonneville et Longtin: deux créations à la SMCQ,' Montreal La Presse, 17 Feb 1979
Petrowski, Nathalie. 'Deux jeunes compositeurs à la SMCQ,' Montreal Le Devoir, 19 Feb 1979
Bergeron, Carol. 'Découvrir Longtin,' Montreal Le Devoir, 4 Feb 1984
Gingras, Claude. 'Michel Longtin, compositeur: "j'ai besoin d'un scénario",' Montreal La Presse, 31 Mar 1984
Préfontaine, Yves-G. 'Rencontre avec Michel Longtin,' Sonances, vol 4, Apr 1985
Tannenbaum, Peter. 'Michel Longtin: the tortured path of a true romantic,' Music Scene, 351, Sep-Oct 1986
Beckwith, John, and MacMillan, Keith, eds. Contemporary Canadian Composers (Toronto 1975)
Laplante, Louise, ed, Robert, Véronique, transl. Compositeurs canadiens contemporains (Montreal 1977)
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Electroacoustic Community
The website for the Canadian Electroacoustic Community, an organization dedicated to electroacoustics and computer music in Canada. Features contact information for individual members and related organizations, online newsletters, selected audio clips, and more.
The Michel Longtin Fonds
This document is a finding aid for The Michel Longtin Fonds at the Music Division, Library and Archives Canada. Scroll through this document for a photograph, biography, and notes about various works.
An extensive collection of audio clips from recordings featuring the National Arts Centre Orchestra performing works by noteworthy Canadian and international composers. Click on a composer's name on the right side menu to access specific works. See also composer biographies and the interactive timeline of historical milestones in classical music. From artsalive.ca and the Virtual Museum of Canada.