Four Seasons (2016) was written at the request of accordionist Christophe Delporte for the Ensemble Astoria, who is the dedicatee. The titles of the four movements that make up this work are deliberately enigmatic, but each evokes a particular season. It is up to the listener to guess which one and why.
Oryx, the first movement, opens with a long, meditative and intense accordion cadenza. This is followed by a rhythmic part played by all six instruments. The asymmetrical bars accentuate the obsessive and implacable character of this part. Various elements of the opening cadence are superimposed on each other, opposing each other, dialoguing, joining each other, passing from one instrument to another, modulating in a surprising way in order to constantly re-launch the listener’s attention.
Falling Trees, the second movement, is based entirely on a sixteenth-note ostinato. Various highly expressive melodic motifs are then progressively exposed, complementing each other and leading, through accumulation and various modulations, to a climax that gradually unravels, leaving the piece to end in a dreamlike atmosphere.
Berkeley Rose Garden, the third movement, in slow tempo, begins in a very minimalist manner with reduced material. This does not last, as several motifs increase the tension, leading to an expressive and passionate middle section that gradually disappears as elements from the beginning return but are exploited in very different ways. The movement ends in a meditative mood.
Cruelest Days, the very rhythmic fourth movement, is simply a ‘race to the abyss’ in which the percussion plays a decisive role, and which ends with a firework display of sound.
A first world recording by the Astoria ensemble was released in 2023 on the Antarctica label (CD Seas8ns, AR 042). The world premiere by the same ensemble took place at the Brussels Instrumental Museum on 12 February 2023.
[This score is only available in electronic form. Soloist parts follow the score in the PDF file.]