Like the preceding work À Dante for two female voices and two clarinets, this piece uses the first nine lines of Canto III of the Inferno, the first part of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.
These nine lines with their emotional charge provide a balanced distribution of nouns, adjectives, verbs, pronouns, and verbal phrases that give the text an instantaneous quality, as if the nine lines were read at the same time.
The form I use in the The Neuf Cercles d’ Alighieri is similar to that of À Dante, but the musical material is radically different. The orchestra makes it possible to enrich the discourse until its abolition by the vertical scansions of the last lines, for example. The principle is thus the same as in À Dante ; the development is drived from an inscription : the whole text, the nine lines, at first unclear, almost illegible, and then more and more distinct, more and more present, until all hope is denied to the one who must open this door (meaning of the last line), as the metaphor of the « plenitude » that abolishes the chance and misfortune of existence.
The four unities of time, the four parts, are the four stages of the text’s inscription on « the door ». The first prints the names, the nouns alone ( città, dolore, gente…) ; the second reveals the nouns and the adjectives attached to these names ; the third, the verbs, or the pronouns ; the last shows the entire sentence.

These four stages are of equal length, divided in nine sections grouped in threes ; the hierarchy of the material is as follows :
Each of the nine sections is given a duration and an aggregate.
Each group of three sections is given a calculated interval.
A pattern of four tempi guides the recurring appearance of the already pronounced words.
It proceeds in strata, carves deeper and deeper the inscription of the words, at first disassociated from their context, then progressively reassociated until the image and the meaning of the poem are suspended to each other.

D. Cohen