Quartet version for:

Violin or Flute, Tenor Saxophone or Bass Clarinet, Cello or Musical Saw, and Piano

Score available from PSNY

exoticism, and sheer infectiousness

Allan Kozinn of the New York Times

“La Scène Miniature, a work depicting the murder scene from Albert Camus’s “The Stranger” the narrative in a visceral way, generating sounds ranging from groans and sighs to insects buzzing and aircraft diving.”

Washington Post

Premiered by Either/Or on May 23, 2009 by Jennifer Choi violin, Michael Ibrahim saxophone, David Shively musical saw and Richard Carrick piano. 

Performed by Either/OR at  the Library of Congress, February 18, 2017 with Margaret Lancaster flute, Vasko Dukovski bass clarinet, John Popham cello and Richard Carrick piano, when the final score was prepared for PSNY publication.

Performed with alternative instrumentations by Argento New Music Ensemble, SOLI Chamber Ensemble, Ariana Kim and colleagues and others.

Program Notes:

La Scène Miniature refers to the crucial scene in Albert Camus's l’Étranger, where protagonist Meursault's impulsive action unleashes a series of unforeseen consequences.   This tormented murder scene takes place on a beautifully calm Algerian beach: an intriguing narrative juxtaposition. 

Camus begins this scene with a man on the rocks of the beach calmly playing the same three out-of-tune notes on a flute over and over.   How can music capture the external beauty of this scene, (the wind, sea, birds, and unforgettable sun), alongside the internal conflict both Meursault and his opponent are experiencing (or in Meursault’s case, not experiencing)?    This split characterization is captured by setting each instrumental duo to radically different music.

The flute/piano lyricism and micro-tonal joviality (beginning with the three repeated notes) are contrasted with the clarinet/cello glacial soundscapes in very high register (representing immovable nature) and, eventually, descending into the lowest range of the instrument to depict the internal struggle of the human spirit.  They eventually come together on a twisted version of a Algerian melody (pulled from Bartok's field work in 1913) which ends with a dizzying North African dance blended with soaring microtonal lines above and static, bell-like chords in the piano.  



La Scène Miniature (quartet version)

Home   News   Concerts    Works   Recordings   Multimedia  Performer    Bio   Press    Contact