The Illuminations of Gutenberg
op. 61

Composition Date: 2003
Genre: Percussion, Solo / Ensemble, No Keyboard


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 2 x Marimba
Programme Note:
op. 61 (2003)

The Illuminations of Gutenberg, a duet for marimbas, was written for Catherine Meunier. Inspired by Marshall McLuhan’s book, The Gutenberg Galaxy, this composition is a musical response to the invention of the printing press and how it has accelerated both learning and technological advancement. Starting with McLuhan’s credo regarding the great interconnectedness of everything, I decided to base the work on a composite of related ideas. The following aphorisms in his Laws of Media: “The trick is to reorganize the pattern before it is complete”; and “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards”, give rise in my piece to musical patterns which move both forward and backwards in a riot of both exploration and renewal.

And then there is the image of the mechanical pounding of a printing press—both physically and as a source for the dissemination of public information—which is always present in the action of these percussion instruments. And illuminations? These were the beautiful images decorating letters in early books. But words themselves illuminate the mind; and music the realm beyond words.

Premiere Information:
Créée en octobre 2003 à Lennoxville, Québec, par Mario Boivin et Catherine Meunier.


  • Call Number:
  • MI 7110 M1345Lu61
  • Genre:
  • Percussion, Solo / Ensemble, No Keyboard
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • November 2, 2010
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 Score (32 p.) + 1 enveloppe (2 parties)
    32 Pages
  • Additional Information:
  • Pour deux marimbas.
    Dédicacée à Mario Boivin et Catherine Meunier.
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