violin, clarinet, piano


Commissioned by the Bartók Trio (Marta Abraham, Nancy Braithwaite, Bas Verheijden), financially supported by the ThuisKopiefonds. 1st perf. November 2004, Kromme Rijn Concerts, Dutch Reformed Church, Bunnik.

    1.  Mesticcio
    2.  Nocturne
    3.  Jeu-parti

a note on the music

The Trio for violin, clarinet and piano (2004) was specially commissioned by the Bartók Trio: Hungarian violinist Marta Abraham, American clarinettist Nancy Braithwaite and Dutch pianist Bas Verheijden. Like Bartók, I am deeply attracted to Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, composers who, as Bartók himself, knew how to mix folk music into their own style and who, each in his own very different way, used the classical ‘sonata form’ to this end.

The first movement of this Trio, a Mesticcio, is also a mixture of different musical styles, the roots of which seek to intermingle deep down in the endlessly variegated soil of classical sonata form – even though it is one that lacks the customary thematic return.

The second movement is a capricious Nocturne in the manner of Bartók’s “night musics”, brimming with dreamlike musical emergences some of which refer to the West (Schoenberg), some to the East. Here, as in Bartók, the Indonesian gamelan has a major role to play (in particular a Balinese dance melody to exorcise the devil), though for me, as an Indonesian-Dutch, it has a very different emotional meaning than it may have had for Bartók.

The third movement is called “Jeu-parti”, which is the alternate chant between lover and beloved that the medieval troubadours and trouvères practiced. The instruments sing to one another in different styles, eventually giving in to a tango-like dance. The piano responds to this by paraphrasing a beautiful ancient melody that I found in Adrian Valerius’ ‘Gedenck-Clanck’ from 1626: ‘Come Sheap-herders deck your heds’. The tango, upon its return combined with several motives from earlier movements, brings the work to a close.

The images below show the first pages of each movement.
The clips below have been taken from the recording of the first performance by the Dutch Concertzender.