The first version of Apophtegmes was a collection of eight very short miniatures for chamber ensemble, based on improvisations originally intended to be used during a reading of “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The set was called after the French word Apophtegme, which is a very short yet instructive saying.

  1. Farben
  2. Mystique
  3. Psaumes
  4. Tristan
  5. Elektra
  6. Dream
  7. Petrouchka
  8. Augures

Each pieces ends with a specific chord which gives its name to the piece, namely the Farben, Mystic, Psalms, Tristan, Elektra, Dream, Petrushka and Augurs chords.

The set was later developed under the name Apophtegmes Suite and orchestrated.

Sources and analysis

Each section of Apophtegmes is based on an improvisation that was recorded and transcribed before being developed.


First an improvisation…

reworked at the piano…

orchestrated for ensemble and finally for orchestra in Apophtegmes Suite.


First an improvisation at the piano…



First improvisation…


In Apophtegmes Suite this fragment is used at the beginning and the end of the piece, while the chromatic motive is repeated throughout. The irregular and accented theme of chords from Augures was rewritten in major in 3/4 for the central section of the piece.



reworked and developed for piano…