Varia for solo violin and piano

Udaipur, Dharohar, ghoomar dance by Arian Zwegers

A four-movement sonata-like virtuosic composition meant to display the talent of my friend.




The 26 and 27th of August 2011, I had the pleasure of assisting to the closing concert of the String Quartet Academy of McGill with the Dastoor family. My friend Daniel Dastoor studied at McGill at that time, and for that reason, we assisted the concert freely. The Chaconne by J. S. Bach (with which Daniel had already won a contest), came up in the conversation at one point, in which he told me: “You should also compose a chaconne for solo violin, exactly like Bach's: super long and super complicated. You should really compose one!” I kept that in mind, and the idea of creating my own chaconne, aided by the fact that I myself learned to play Bach's chaconne on the violin, eventually took hold.

I put myself to work later on, and created lines which did not at all displease me. From my research, one issue about the chaconne was its difference in contrast to the passacaglia. While a chaconne is a set group of chords, a passacaglia rather relies on the same repeated bass line. Therefore, because my own composition reuses the same bass, repeated by the piano, and varies the major/minor handling of the melody, it was baptised passacaglia instead of chaconne.

The fact that a continuous bass line can be played along with the passacaglia is more a matter of technicality than of actual help. Although created as a movement in a set for violin and piano, this movement is purposely made to stand on its own, and is certainly better off without the piano line entirely. In this case, the bass is understood as a technicality of composition rather than as a requirement.



In the meantime, I wished to create a quite rapid and catchy melody, but which was not too difficult. I realised the need for that sort of simple and comprehensible piece more and more since Grandpa Labrecque asked me to play violin during our visits at his place. I took out a flute movement in that goal—it had originally been planned as a movement of a concerto—and fixed and improved it.

Le petit rigolo

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