The basic idea of the Chronographies is to compose a series of independent pieces, but all based on a minimal unifying material of 5 notes (G, B, F sharp, D, E), which can of course be transposed.
Chronographie III (1996) for two instruments and piano (or harp) allows for dozens of possible versions in terms of instrumentation. Indeed, voice I can be played by different instruments (flute, oboe, clarinet, recorder, saxophone, trumpet, vibraphone and marimba or violin) as well as voice II (alto flute, bassoon, clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophone, horn, viola, marimba, accordion, cello or double bass). In ABCB’ form, Chronographie III is a piece of contrasts: A calls for great rhythmic virtuosity through the use of repeated fragments, polyrhythms and asymmetric measures. The gradual construction of three distinct themes that eventually overlap leads to the climax that concludes this first part. B is a much more singing and expressive part which allows the performers to show their sense of dialogue, balance and sound beauty. C, also very virtuosic, justifies its belonging to the Chronographies series by the use of the common five-note material mentioned above. B’ brings back the theme of B, but instrumented differently to end in a very calm and nostalgic atmosphere.
The ensemble Nouvelles Consonances has recorded this work on CD (Cyprès 4602 label).