Divertimento No. 3, Moderato – Adagio maestoso (1965)

Murray Adaskin

Murray Adaskin (1921-2002) was a significant driving force behind the development of music composition in Canada. Born in Toronto, he studied composition with John Weinzweig, Charles Jones, and Darius Milhaud. He was head of the Department of Music at the University of Saskatchewan from 1966-1972. There, he created the first composer-in residence program in a Canadian University. As conductor of the Saskatoon Symphony from 1957-1960, he insisted the orchestra commission a new work by a Canadian composer every year. He was also a driving force behind the creation of the Canadian Music Centre.


Level: High School

Examine the score. Follow along through a first-listening of the piece.

Adaskin is known for his clear style and attention to detail. The piece is constructed simply but effectively. With the guidance of your teacher, see if you can identify the elements which make up this piece.

  1. Phrases – are they long or short? This kind of phrasing is very common in Adaskin’s music.
  2. What is counterpoint? Analyze and identify “musical conversations” between instruments.
  3. This piece employs a three-eighth-note cell, as a signature throughout the piece. Circle all of the places where you find this cell.
  4. Form in music refers to the search for coherent patterns of repetition as the music unfolds. Listen to the piece a few more times, while following the along with the score. The form of this piece is a slight variation of a standardized form from the classical timeperiod, the rondo form. The form of this piece can be summarized as: A – B – A – C – A – D – coda. On the internet or using a music dictionary, look up the meaning of the terms rondo and coda. See if you can label the form above onto the score, using both your eyes and your ears as you listen and watch the score.