Jeux de cordes (1995-96)

Denis Gougeon

string quartet

Commission: Société Radio-Canada (SRC), Radio suisse romande (RSR)

Premiere: March 24, 1996, Erato Quartett BaselConcert (Morges, Switzerland)

  • 1. Jeu d’accents
  • 2. Andante des harmoniques
  • 3. Jeu sur un mode
  • 4. Chant
  • 5. Jeu d’imitation (Suivez-moi!)

Jeux de Cordes is a five-movement work or game, commissioned by Radio-Canada for the Erato Quartet from Basel. The first movement, “Jeu d’Accents” is constructed on accents that are sometimes synchronized and sometimes not. The second, “Andante des Harmoniques” hig-hlights a delicate play of harmonics, like a dance of high pitches through which a melodic line wends its way from low to high six times. The next movement “Jeu sur un mode” plays on the effect of close imitation, mainly between the two violins, using only one mode and its transpositions. “Chant” follows with a highly interior atmosphere created by a very pure and simple melody. This penultimate movement is set in motion over a stable cello pedal and a repeated rhythmic ositinato in the viola. “Jeu d’imitation” (follow me!) makes use of canonic procedures as its principal means of development. With its light and rapid character—a sort of wink to Baroque composers—this game highlights both the solo talents and the ensemble capabilities of each member of the quartet. (Translation: C. Flint De Médicis)

This work was premiered on March 24, 1996, in Morges (Switzerland) and recorded by Radio Suisse-Romande.

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Performances

Recording