Salle Debussy-Pleyel, Paris
Quatuor Instrumental de Paris
Laks’s Divertimento is his last larger work. As a reminiscence of a musical thinking obliged to traditional formal models, whose syntax did not want to renounce the primeval categories of musical language – melody, harmony, and rhythm – it has an anachronistic effect in the context of the contemporary avant-gardes. Not as anachronistic, however, as the compositions of Poulenc, who was of the same generation. Like the Sinfonietta for string orchestra or the Petite suite légère for orchestra, the neoclassical Divertimento also numbers among Laks’s works that are distinguished by an atmospherically cheerful mood and elegant tone. But the cheerfulness in Laks’s post-war works has a false bottom. For example, in the second movement of the Divertimento, he discreetly quotes a passage from his opera L’Hirondelle inattendue, a strikingly introverted moment within the context of the plot with the words “Hélas! Hélas! La mort violente est de nos jours fréquente” (“Woe! Woe!” Violent death is frequent nowadays”). Only someone who knows the opera will notice the allusion, and it is to be understood only against the background of Laks’s biography.