Following its completion in 1947, the Divertimento No. 2 for solo oboe and string orchestra was premiered by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in April 1948. This work is the second is a series of twelve divertimenti that each highlight different instruments. As with many of his works, Weinzweig here combines the three-movement structure of the original Classical genre with 12-tone technique. As opposed to a means of control, Weinzweig uses each row freely as melodic inspiration.
The first movement displays Weinzweig’s humour, as the crisp articulations of the oboe and cellos and basses create a rhythmic dialogue. The emphasis on the lower strings in the first movement is contrasted in the second movement by their complete omission. Rather, the lyrical oboe is supported by the violins and violas in a waltz-like accompaniment. Never one to stay in one musical scene too long, Weinzweig creates contrast through brief soaring string episodes. In the third movement, Weinzweig unites the entire string orchestra, engaging the oboe in an energetic finale filled with crisply accented rhythms.
Written by Alexa Woloshyn