for viola, harp, and vibraphone (1984)

  • Premiere: 13 April 1984 / Curtis Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Charles Ross, vibraphone; Lisa Ponton, viola; Therese Elder, harp
  • Instrumentation: viola, harp, vibraphone
  • Duration: 13'
  • Dedication: "To Charles Ross, Therese Elder, and Lisa Ponton"
  • All orders are digital downloads. To order paper scores please visit our partner distributor, Theodore Front.
I remember clearly how the Divertimento came to be. We were chatting about our jazz affinities, and especially Bill Evans. And maybe a week later, you had the thing written.
— Charles Ross, 2015

I. Mazurka
II. Aubade
III. Meditation
IV. Owl Light
V. Finding Out
VI. Riffs for Les

Program Note

The opening movement, Mazurka, is marked 'gracious, charming,' and is in seven, rather than the customary three beats per bar. (A quarter century later, I revisited this movement, revised and expanded it, and included it as the first movement of my third piano trio.) An Aubade is a poem or song of or about lovers separating at dawn; this one is marked 'breezy' and lasts but sixty seconds. (I came back to it for the song, "I'll sing a song to my love" from the song cycle "Letting Go" a decade later.) Meditation begins with the marking 'extroverted' and continues with a contrasting section marked 'introverted' before concluding with a section that combines the two moods. In the twilight hours known as Owl Light (marked 'scarcely heard, veiled') — that dusky uncertain time of day that hovers between light and dark — the world takes on a mystical quality. The sixty-second companion movement to Aubade follows: the other shoe drops in the quizzical Finding Out, a terse collage of three discrete ideas. The Divertimento wraps up with Riffs for Les, which rings changes on an eight bar 'head' by my first composition teacher, Les Thimmig. The Divertimento was written mainly in Philadelphia, but finished on Christmas Day, 1983, in Madison, Wisconsin. It was written for percussionist Charles Ross, harpist Therese Elder, and violist Lisa Ponton, who premiered it at the Curtis Institute of Music on April 13th, 1984.

(Banner photo: Charles Ross)