Divertimento

(1982)

by Colin Matthews

Description
double string quartet
Duration
21
Genres
String Ensemble
Commission

Commissioned by Sir Peter Pears for the Aldeburgh Festival

First Performance
23.6.1982, Aldeburgh Festival, Blythburgh Church, Suffolk, UK: Divertimenti/Oliver Knussen
Availability

Score (fp) 0-571-55539-X on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes
Colin Matthews Divertimento (1982) for double string quartet 1. Aria cappricciosa 2. Intermezzo 3. Aria conclusa Commissioned by Sir Peter Pears for the Aldeburgh Festival. My Divertimento for double string quartet was written at the request of Sir Peter Pears for the 1982 Aldeburgh Festival, and is dedicated to him. The first performance was given, at very short notice after the original performers dropped out, by members of Divertimenti under the direction of Oliver Knussen. The work, which also exists in an arrangement for double string orchestra, lasts just over 20 minutes. For the first performance I wrote that “the use of the word ‘divertimento’ usually implies a work that isn’t meant to be taken too seriously. Although this work is not, in fact, particularly light-hearted, one of my criteria for composing it was that I should allow the music to pursue its rather wayward path without too many conscious restrictions”. The first movement is perhaps the clearest example of this, moving from an elegiac C sharp minor through many abrupt changes of mood before returning to an echo of the opening. The intermezzo is characterised by shadowy, fleeting images, marked in the score “as if holding a conversation without wanting to be overheard”. The finale is ‘conclusive’, on one level, in that it rounds off the musical argument. But the work is open-ended, because the anticipated return of the opening does not materialize, and the final chord is not a resolution. Colin Matthews

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News & Reviews

'Divertimento' reviews

‘… a piece which lengthens the list of splendid British music for strings … there’s no denying the skill, industry and imagination that went into its making, not to mention the quality of its ingredients.’ The Boston Globe (Richard Dyer), 5 August 1991 Read more

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