RTC-35: 1967 Diversities for Violin, Bassoon and Piano ♫

Commission: 1967 Canada Centennial Commission (for Cassenti Players)
Length: 17 min.
Completion: 18 February 1967, Rome
Premiere: 1967-10-3/5, Arthur Polson, violin, George Zukermann, bassoon, Harold Brown, piano Expo 67, Montreal, The Canadian Pavilion

  • 1967-09-16, Cassenti Players, CBC Vancouver Festival of Music
  • 1969, Cassenti Players, Washington State University
  • 1977-11-07, Music Inter Alia, Winnipeg – Arthur Polson, Vincent Ellin, Diana McIntosh
  • 1984-01-26, Cassenti Players, Festival Music Canada, Toronto
  • 1998-11-08, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra Ensemble

Publication: CMC
Recording: Cassenti Players – Arthur Polson, violin, George Zukermann, bassoon and Harold Brown, Piano. RCI Antholgoy: Robert Turner ACM 15, 1983 2012 CD
Video: CBC Television Documentary (1967)

Audio Samples

Diversities: 1

Diversities: 2

Diversities: 3

Diversities: 4

Diversities: 5

This chamber work for violin, bassoon and piano was commissioned by the Centennial Commision for performance at Expo 67 in Montreal. The work was written for Vancouver’s Cassenti Players: violinist Arthur Polson, bassoonist George Zukerman and pianist Harold Brown and was premiered on 16 September 1967 during Vancouver’s annual CBC Festival of Music. Several weeks later, on 3/5 October 1967 the work as performed in the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 67.

A one-hour CBC television program showed the composer and performers during a rehearsal of this work. Diversities was written during an 18-month sabbatical leave in Florence and Rome, at the same time that Turner was writing another Centennial commission, his opera The Brideship. In order to achieve an unblended sound between these diverse instruments, the composer specifies that performers should be seated a considerable distance apart. Each of the work`s five movements also exhibits a diverse character.

The third movement (Intermezzo Canadese) is particularly striking. The bassoon plays an ostinato bass using motifs and rhythms from “The Maple Leaf Forever” as the violin is heard in a disjointed “O Canada”, exhibiting Turner’s perpetual sense of irony.