Analysis / Thoughts

Bonjour, comment ça va?

for piano, low clarinet and violoncello (July 1972 – February 1979)

Bonjour, comment ça va? Is a suite of 17 formulas to be played in the indicated order. The three instruments, being free in the details are bound by a same very fixed and regular tempo. Each formula is to repeat an unspecified number of times, up to the ensemble to decide the duration of the piece. However one could say that the short formulas are repeated a larger number of times than the long formulas. The passage from one formula to the other should be done by “fading”.

For example : the piano begins alone the formula 1, followed by the violoncello, then enters the clarinet. The formula once installed well one of the instruments (may be piano) gives the sign that he passes to formula 2, the other both finish their formula they are playing and go over to the next one. The passage from one to the other is to be done without any pause. So on until formula 17.

The duration of each formula is free must only balance according to the duration of the piece (10 to 15 minutes).


One should try to find a dynamic homogeneity for the three instruments. The accentuations are generally not indicated. The musicians can with their liking to underline and accentuate the rhythmic and melodic effects. The musical writing implies its own accentuation. The legato are indicated, the remainder must be played detached

Inside the formulas every musician has a stroke of freedom, they may for example change the rhythms or introduce silences but by preserving the same tempo.

These variations of detail may intervene especially from formula 12 on, to facilitate the introduction of noises.


In this connection, the interpreters must play the piece in a “neo-flamenco” spirit.


To still accentuate this character, they will have to type foot with the manner of the Spanish dancers. These actions are indicated as follows:


X = type foot (left or right, or both – whatever is more convenient)


O = for the VC, attack on the case with the left hand (style guitar)


The interpreters should wear shoes with leather soles. Impossible to play this piece with crepe or rubber soles.


The performance will have to take place in a room whose ground is out of wood or stone.

The use of carpet or fitted carpet is strongly disadvised.

If fitted carpet there is, one will have to install an podium, practicable, a wood surface, on which to seat the instrumentalists.


And now, up to you to play.


Bonjour, comment ça va?….


Each player can be capped with a hat and, to announce the passage of a formula to the other, this one who will have decided some thus, can raise it in a kind of hello.


This gesture will be not only quite visible for the other instrumentalists, but also understood by the public, like an allusion to the title.