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(also, divertimento).

In the theater during the 17th and 18th centuries, a divertissement was an inserted or concluding part of a dramatic production (sometimes of an opera or ballet), consisting of singing, dancing, brief comic scenes, parodies, and other numbers amusing in nature. A divertissement usually is unrelated to the plot of the main presentation. During the 1870’s the divertissement became an independent part of the concert program of vaudeville theaters and balagan (traveling) shows. Use of the divertissement in Russian ballet became widespread after the Fatherland War of 1812, when it was transformed into a unique type of ballet presentation with patriotic and nationalistic subject matter.

In music the divertissement is a type of light popular music. The term designates an instrumental work which serves primarily as an amusing diversion. Divertissements consist of several sections (usually from four to ten) and are arranged for various instrumental groups (ranging from one instrument to a chamber ensemble or an orchestra). They combine elements of the suite and the sonata and resemble a serenade because of their extensive use of dance genres. They are also related to the cassation and the nocturne. Examples of divertissements can be found in the works of Haydn and Mozart.

During the 19th century, divertissements were converted into a genre of salon music similar to a medley. There are a few exceptions, for example, Hungarian Divertissement by Schubert, written for two pianos. During the 20th century the divertissement has taken the form of a suite consisting of short ballets (for example, the divertissement from Stravinsky’s ballet Le Baiser de la fee). Occasionally works are composed that are stylizations of the 18th-century divertissement (Bartók’s Divertimento for Strings).

References in periodicals archive ?
Alfred Desenclos's Cantilene et Divertissements is a darkly expressionist work with truly virtuosic elements, which Matlick negotiates with ease.
La Conference s'est terminee par un diner manitobain traditionnel, avec divertissements et encan silencieux.
Music lovers will be treated to Satie's Sports et Divertissements in its original version for text and piano at the late-night concert on May 3.
All the offerings were all by BRB artistic director David Bintley - The Seasons and Still Life At The Penguin Caf sandwiching a four-piece divertissements - that's odds and ends to you and me.
At one time or another Wesley adapts nearly all of them to his own ends: the fetes galantes and pastorales, the seasonal allegories and Arcadian landscapes, the Ovidian metamorphoses, historical anecdotes, and sporting scenes, the orientales, chinoiseries, odalisques, and divertissements (i.
Bourne sets one scene in an ambisexual cabaret, and he can't resist a hilarious side trip to one of those icky 19th-century butterfly-ballet divertissements (exquisite designs by Lez Brotherston) that his own work seems to render so irrelevant.
Jean-Francois Regnard's libretto stretches an exiguous romantic anecdote a la Marivaux over an entire evening, leaving more than ample room for the obligatory divertissements.
A delightful comedy in its own right, the play has survived in the repertory for over three centuries and has often served as a pretext for lavish ballets and divertissements.
Fun Key") is pleased to announce the signature today of a Letter of intent with the main officer-shareholders of the corporation Metaforia Divertissements Inc.
La Tunisie est pour les Algeriens un pays tres competitif en termes de tarifs essentiellement dans les hotels et dans les lieux de divertissements.
Organisee par l'Association [beaucoup moins que]Al Adwatein[beaucoup plus grand que] sous le haut patronage de SM le Roi Mohammed VI du 10 au 13 avril 2014, cette brillante manifestation a attire un grand public qui a assiste a un magnifique programme de divertissements bien ficeles par differentes prestations des enfants des ecoles de musique et d'arts choregraphiques qui sont venues de plusieurs villes du Maroc et les enfants des pays amis notamment des enfants saoudiens, roumains, indonesiens et russes.
In the second-act divertissements, many of the dances or variations are borderline caricatures, if not downright demeaning.