Movement 1: En passant: Vivo e scorrendo
Movement 2: Menuet: Allegretto aperto – Trio: Un poco meno mosso
Movement 3: Moulin: Vivace e gajamente assai
Movement 4: Intermezzo: Cantabile e molto dramatico
Movement 5: Marionettes: Allegro molto e scherzando
A Bartók-like five-beat rhythm contributes to the first movement’s elusive, volatile character suggested in its title, En passant. Here two themes alternate, developed in instrumental interactions, the final repeat of the first idea soaring high with harmonics and pizzicato. The Menuet contrasts two phrases, the first Bach-like and highly ornamented on its reprise, the second a capricious chromatic rising sequence. The contrasting Trio introduces biting dissonances and wayward harmony, before the Menuet’s return. Helter-skelter staccato scales in the aptly titled Moulin (‘Windmill’) evoke the relentless activity implied by the title, the piano’s theme transformed through chromatic sequences. The marking Vivace e gajamente assai conveys the mood of this virtuoso display piece. The dramatic highpoint of the Suite No 2 is the poetic Intermezzo, its yearning to reach light from darkness enacted in the striving for E major from the darker C sharp minor. The violin’s initial soliloquy leads to an eloquent melody over slowly rising piano chords. It is repeated by piano alone, then, with a new descending idea, by both partners. Here the violin finally reaches E major, coming to rest before falling like a windswept leaf to a repeat of the opening soliloquy in the dark minor. The Suite ends with an exhilarating Allegro molto e scherzando in a broad ternary design introduced by trills and leaps. As the title Marionettes suggests, the violin theme is playful, developing a toccata-like texture in high registers that leads to a percussive pizzicato descent. A central section brings dazzling trills, leaps and syncopations, followed by a reprise of the main theme that leaps to stratospheric registers for the concluding climax.
from notes by Malcolm Miller © 2012