Clarinet, string quartet & piano

11 min

• World premiere: 22/03/1998, Envols festival, Lyon (France) – Ensemble Metamorphosis.

• Publisher: Gérard Billaudot.

• CD “Chorus” (Accord/Universal 476 1282).

Initially, there were two directions for this sextet: the first was to write a ground in the tradition of the English Renaissance; the second was to let myself go, making a piece inspired by Jazz improvisations. In fact, Chorus is the conjunction of the two. On the one hand, here one finds the descending chromatic bass characteristic of Purcellian grounds on which a certain number of variations are built; and, on the other, the more the piece advances, the more the presence of syncopated rhythms and rapid pizzicato ostinati make one think of jazz. Four linked sequences follow each other without a break: the first, during which the theme is in long values in the bass in an atmosphere both mysterious and immobile. Then tension and progressive agitation lead to the second, based on the persistence of a pizzicato ostinato round which the instruments seem to improvise. This ostinato progressively dissolves, making room for a third sequence in which steadier harmonies appear in the string quartet. Finally, after a slow transformation, a syncopated rhythmic motor forms again, bringing a particularly lively final section.

Thierry Escaich
Translated by John Tyler Tuttle