Fine used previously unpublished material for the Diversions for Orchestra, premiered at a 1960 Boston Symphony Orchestra children's concert. He originally wrote "Little Toccata" as barter for a painting. The playful yet sophisticated second and fourth movements, "Flamingo Polka" and "The Red Queen's Gavotte," came from his 1942 incidental music to Alice in Wonderland. The third movement, gentle and slightly wry, honors the Fines' poodle Koko. Leonard Bernstein wrote, "In those four brief pieces we can behold [Fine's] personality: tender without being coy, witty without being vulgar, appealing without being banal, and utterly sweet without ever being cloying." The four Diversions were dedicated to Fine's three daughters . . . plus, perhaps, the poodle?
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to Boosey & Hawkes/Jennifer DeLapp.