Traffic (2013) opens with a rhythmic ostinato of the strings quickly joined by the piano. The clarinet and first violin then begin a lively dialogue. The central episode develops new elements but without breaking with the obsessive character that marks the whole movement. The transformed beginning comes back to bring the conclusion, very animated and intense. The second movement is of a very melodic character, the general atmosphere is very expressive with however a central part much more agitated and nervous. It concludes in a dreamlike atmosphere based on a search for subtle and refined timbres. The third movement is based on the principle of variations on a sequence of chords. The quartet presents the harmonic material, then the clarinet and the piano begin a struggle to which the whole ensemble eventually joins in. The variations follow one another, each one more virtuosic than the next, both in terms of instrumental virtuosity and writing. The end is bright and luminous, a sort of haunting orgy of sound.
Commissioned by the Festival Juventus (Cambrai, France), Traffic was premiered there on July 12, 2014 by Ronald Van Spaendonck (clarinet), Ernö Kállai (violin I), Étienne Gara (violin II), Nathan Braude (viola), Aurélien Pascal (cello) and Peter Laul (piano). The dedicatees are Georges Gara, artistic director of the Festival, and Ronald Van Spaendonck.