As in the first two Chiffres, the piano has a solo role in Chiffre III. It enters with a striking theme immediately after an introduction featuring tom-toms. A bass clarinet and a bassoon accompany the theme, suggesting a quotation; two bars follow with rhythm reminiscent of Stravinsky. The theme and its fragments will return several times (in the cor anglais, for instance) like a type of signal (= chiffre). There are other signal-like motifs, appearing as a kind of commentary on the dramatic events in the piece. A bell and a police whistle also provide signals, while the piano transforms into a “piano furioso”, as in the previous Chiffres, raging isterico and martellatissimo in a strange, secretive musical world.
Translation: Grant Chorley