Chamber music without conductor

Composer's note:

The trio 'Ellipsen', for clarinet, violin and piano, is based on a cycle of poems by Roland Jooris, a Flemish poet born in Wetteren in 1936. Attracted by Jooris's approach, which transposes into his works the impressions felt in front of plastic art objects, I tried to (re)translate into musical expression what I was evoked by reading this astonishing work. In agreement with the poet, I borrowed the titles of the six poems from the cycle that I had selected for each of the six musical movements. The size of each of them varies, which helps to translate the contrasts between each poem :

OVAAL                clarinette solo

EI                         duo violon piano

SAENREDAM      trio

FAGOT                duo clarinette piano

ETUDE                violon solo

IMPROMPTU      trio


 It is not, however, a musical setting of the text: "Ellipsen" can be listened to as an autonomous work, as pure music, but the hearing of the music combined with the reading of the poems makes the connection between the two modes of artistic expression explicit.

 "Ellipsen" is composed on an original scale resulting from the alignment of harmonic sounds: it uses a limited number of tempered sounds, but also three non-tempered sounds, played only by the violin and clarinet. The piano therefore does not require any special tuning, and the non-temperate sounds played by the two melodic instruments create relationships of 1/4, 3/4 and 7/6 tone. The purpose of using this "micro-tonality" is to ask musicians to get as close as possible to the scale of harmonic sounds generated by the laws of acoustics and to exploit the phenomena of natural resonance. In this respect, I am tempted to make a connection with Jooris' aesthetics, described by critics in Flanders as 'nieuw-realist', and with his desire to explore the tense relations between poetry and reality, reality and plastic art, plastic art and poetry.

Clarinette Sib
16 min.
for clarinet, violin and piano
Date de création


I composed Ellipsen, a trio for clarinet, violin and piano, inspired by acycle of poems by Roland Jooris (born in 1936 in Wetteren, Belgium). The latterrelates in his poems his impressions in front of visual art works. I tried to usea similar process by attempting to re-translate in musical terms what thereading of his astonishing work had evoked in me. With the agreement of thepoet, I borrowed the titles of six of the poems that I had selected for eachmovement. The number of instruments varies from piece to piece to respect thecontrasts between the poems:

OVAAL                clarinetsolo

EI                         duetviolin and piano

SAENREDAM      trio

FAGOT                duetclarinet and piano

ETUDE                violinsolo

IMPROMPTU      trio

 This work is not just a setting into music of thepoems: « Ellipsen » canbe appreciated as an autonomous work, as pure music. However, listening to themusic after having read the poems clarifies the connection between the twomodes of artistic expression.

 Ellipsen is composed on an original scale that is the result ofthe aligning of the overtones (harmonic series): it uses a limited number of temperedsounds united with untempered sounds, played only by the violin and theclarinet. For this reason, the piano does not need special tuning.