Athanor (2019) is written in a single movement and aims to musically represent the “philosophical furnace” of the Alchemists. The work opens in a dark and mysterious atmosphere (timpani, string harmonics, etc.) where various elements begin to emerge from the chaos, gradually building up and assembling with each other. A very expressive melodic motif appears after a while and it is largely on this motif that the first part of the piece will develop. This is followed by a much more lively and rapid rhythmic part, in bar 7/8, very lively and colourful, rich in twists and turns and sound surprises (sudden changes in modes, dynamics, very virtuoso writing etc.). The first part comes back to conclude the piece, but all the elements heard before are superimposed on it, giving the impression that the raw material (“Materia Prima”) has transformed itself to become a source of light.
The world premiere took place at the Institut du monde arabe in Paris (France) on July 17, 2019 by the Arab Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (AYPO) under the direction of French conductor Mathieu Braud.