|Genre Categories||; ;; ; ;|
|Work Title||Divertimento for Violoncello and Percussion|
|Year/Date of CompositionY/D of Comp.||1951|
|First Performance.||1962-08-09, Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York
|Average DurationAvg. Duration||5 minutes|
|Composer Time PeriodComp. Period||Modern|
|Instrumentation||Cello, timpani, snare-drum, cymbal, tambourine, and wood-block|
…A lively duet for an unlikely combination…
More impressive was Vivian Fine’s brief but bright Divertimento for Violoncello and Percussion….
…involved the soloist in some astounding gymnastics; it was indeed quite diverting—both to the eye and the ear….
Ms. Fine…made contrast prevail in this piece. While the ‘cello plays fluid, lyric lines, the percussion section emits tense, rhythmically complex statements. Yet there was much more than rhythmicized sound. The different instruments lent variety to both texture and pitch. The piece was played twice, and the second time order within the complexity became more apparent. The audience was enthusiastic.
The Divertimento was written in 1951 and has been widely performed. It was originally written for a percussionist and his cellist wife. They were taken aback by the idiom—perhaps expecting something “typical” for cello and drumming—and never performed the work. The dramatic dialogue between the players contrasts the linear quality of the cello with the more varied sounds of percussion.
The Divertimento divides into four sections forming a loose ABA pattern. The A material is an active cello melody displaying Fine’s penchant for writing a well-articulated but tonally free line. The percussion is heard as an accompaniment. The B sections place more emphasis on the percussion, sometimes creating duets between the ensemble and cello or isolating individual colors, such as timpani and cello.
Fine’s reuse of material is always clever, and like in her earlier music, avoids exact repetition. For example, the cello’s beginning pitches…become a playful four-measure elaboration during measures 110-114, delaying the return of the original melody, which has a new percussion accompaniment.