The Adagio e Scherzino is dated March, 1956 and was dedicated to the Wind Quintet of the National Broadcaster at the time. The first performance, however, only took place on the 29th of June, 1989, at the Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores, in Lisbon, given by the Quinteto Solistas de Lisboa. From the title we immediately realise that we are facing a contrasting diptych. The work is of modal character in its melodic and harmonic profile with both pieces having an ABA structure.
The ‘Adagio’ starts as if it were imitative polyphony, led by the bassoon ‘molto espressivo’. The theme (whose organization suggests the octatonic scale) has an “elastic” character that makes one think of a slow dance. A brief central episode, dominated by the flute, evokes the influence of traditional Portuguese melody and is followed by the return of the A section.
The ‘Scherzino’ is an ‘Allegretto’ in which the 3/4 meter and the rhythmic patterns make for a more lively feel. It attests to the influence of traditional Portuguese music, with the oboe acting as the protagonist both thematically (the main theme is in ‘Barform’: aab) and in leading the discourse, even if in the middle section the flute is more prominent.
The work revolves around the pitches A-E (section A) and D-A (section B), ending on an A chord, “confirmed” by the horn.