pour clarinette en si bémol, violon et piano

for B-flat clarinet, violin and piano
Composed: April–May 1984 in Geneva and between February and May 2022 in Vienna
Duration: ca. 9'30''


Petit Prelude    Geneva, 30.4.1985   1'  
II  Presque Canon   completed in Vienna, 15.2.2022    3'20''
III    Danses Suisses        Vienna, 15.5.2022 3'45''
IV Finale  Vienna, 17.5.2022    0'45''


After the completion of the Deuxieme Divertissement Suisse in 1984, I began work on the subsequent Divertissements. However, my move to Vienna in 1986 was to thwart their completion. In the case of the 4th Divertissement, there was only the Prelude in a first preliminary score realization, and a fragment of the 2nd movement consisting of only a few measures; but this material was sufficient to allow an effortless reconstruction and realization of my original conception for this movement after 37 years.

In the first movement, the combination of whole- and half-steps already present in the previous two divertissements is expanded into scale-like formations. Each of these scales has its own combination of minor and major seconds and is interwoven contrapuntally between the three voices.

In the second movement – as the title suggests, it is "almost" a canon – two musical motives alternate: a dotted motive and a closely-related pattern moving in "regular" eighth notes. Actually, these are two two-part canons striving towards a homophonic four-part texture that only becomes tangible in the last two movements. The conception of how these two canons would function was already apparent in the 1985 fragment, which was then completed in 2022.

As a supplement, I composed two movements between March and May 2022 that merged into one another. The third movement was conceived not only as a small nostalgic souvenir note of my "Swiss years" (1981-1986), but also relates to the 1st and 2nd Divertissements, since it allowed me to once again indulge my original idea of musically connecting the locality of Lake Geneva with the presence of Igor Stravinsky by creating four different "Danses Suisses" in a potpourri. Stravinsky's ballet Le Baiser de la Fée (inspired by Tchaikovsky) and the orchestral suite "Divertimento" that emerged from it contain a section entitled "Danse Suisses," the main motif of which was borrowed from Tchaikovsky's Humoreske op. 10 No. 2. The same motive, as well as a cadential harmonic progression very specific to Tchaikovsky are cast in a new progressive harmonic reinterpretation in the 3rd movement of my Divertissement. This movement also serves as an homage Stravinsky's tendency, especially during his "neoclassical" period, to repeatedly reinterpret various historical stylistic elements in his work – indeed, to build entire works based on such stylistic reinterpretations – and to invent a style all his own through his own musical architecture.

Moving beyond the external form of the third movement, the harmony is determined by the constant reinterpretation of small and large intervals. In this movement, in other words, the processes of reversing the polarity of minor and major seconds, which forms the basis of the compositional process on all my divertissements, are extended to all intervals (especially thirds and sixths).

The ensuing last movement takes as its starting point contrapuntally interwoven trills, and expands the spectrum (as a quasi-reprise of the first movement) to scale-like structures, although in this case they comprise only three to four notes. In the third section, the movement concentrates on repeated notes, which are then replaced by collectively performed wide leaps.