STRING QUARTET No.1 'Versailles'

Versailles was inspired by 17th-century landscape gardening. The gardens of the Palais de Versailles were a symbol of centralized power. a severe, symmetrical garden-arrangement formed the basis for a wealth of ornamentation which was achieved by subjecting all plants to rigorous trimming. Nature was subordinated to art. The 17th-century landscape architect undoubtedly saw his creations as an earthly paradise. The opposite powers of unbridled nature, on the one hand, and all-controlling man with his trimming knife and hedge-clippers, on the other hand form a tragi-comic dualism. This theme, however, has become a worldwide problem of surviving or parishing. a composer tries to arrange his tones just as the landscape architect does his plants, statues and fountains. The components of symmetry and repetition have a determining factor on the form of the baroque garden. in Versailles, i applied these techniques to the musical composition. The outcome is a neo-baroque divertimento.

 

I Parterre de pieces coupées pour des fleurs 4’37’’

an important element in the baroque garden is the parterre, a rectangular area contain- ing symmetrical and fancifully modelled flowerbeds surrounded by small hedges and accentuated by little ornamental trees. The movement is based on an untempered hedge- clipper’s motif in contrary motion. During the absence of the gardener the plants run wild but in the end the inevitable hedge-clipper brings everything back under control.

 

II Labyrinth 6’46’’

The labyrinth of Versailles was destroyed long ago. it was a square plot of land with dense covering of countless shrubs. The many pathways that traversed it merged so imperceptibly one into one and another, that one could very easily got lost. Here two lovers (first violin and cello) wander about end- lessly along identical footpaths.

 

III ‘Disposition’ générale d’un grand jardin 4’35’’

The ‘Disposition’ is based on symmetry, contrary motion and repetition of the layout of the ‘ideal garden’, as dis- cussed by Joseph Dezallier d’argenville in his manual la Théorie et la Pratique du Jardinage (Paris, 1709).

 

IV trianon de Porcelaine 3’07’’

in 1670, louis xiV built a country seat to please his mistress the marquise

de montespan. He bought the poor village of trianon and had it raised to the ground. The name, however, was retained for its beautiful sound. The new buildings were plastered with blue and white porcelain, to imitate the Chinese pagoda at Nanjing. in nearly all seasons the garden was a variegated sea of flowers, filling the air with the sweet scent of blossom. in 1687, when the marquise fell into disfavour with the King who was seeking a change, the trianon de Porcelaine was demolished to make way for the present Grand trianon. The music in this section is a small contemplation of transience, in memory of a forgotten little village and a forgotten pleasure garden.

 

STRING QUARTET No.1 score & parts downloadable as pdf  €

 

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