- Variations on chords: Distances
Variations on chords: Distances
for Symphony Orchestra (2003)
Variations on Chords: Distances was composed in 2003 and premiered by the Eastman Philharmonia, conducted by Clay Greenberg.
The title reflects concisely the core of the piece, which uses the two opening
chords, instead of a theme in standard variations, as the initial source and point of
departure for a series of variations. Those chords comprise the entire opening section of
the piece and serve as the point of arrival at the end (in a retrograde mode and with
different orchestration). The chords are not the only element subjected to different
transformations – the distances in between them play a particular role, confronting or
joining the chords, or emphasizing a distance between particular registers, groups of
instruments or instrumental solos and their respective timbres, dynamics, and attacks. The
overall dynamics incorporate crescendos and diminuendos, which produce almost
constantly changing dynamic intensity. Surprisingly, by the middle of the piece,
transformations of the chord sequences create independent images that are very different
from the source. Among them are the string chorale in a very high register and an antichorale, which first appeared in the brass section. The rest of the score is an interaction
between these two antipodes, interrupted by the unchangeable church bell-like tolling,
traveling throughout the score independently from the variation cycle, leaving as a trail
its fragments. The string chorale starts and stops at the ‘frozen point’, a chord that marks
a repeated motion through the chorale which moves forwards and backwards.
- picc., 2 fl., 3 ob. (ob. III = Engl. hrn.), 3 cl. (cl. I in B flat, cl. II in A = E-fl., cl. III in B flat = Bass cl. in B-fl.), 3 bsn., (bsn. III = cbsn.), 4 hrn., 3 tpt., 3 tbn. (tbn. III = Bass trbn.), tba., timp., 2 perc. (xyl., bass mar. or mar., susp. cymb., sizzle cymb., w.bl., 4 t.-toms, 5 t.-bl., tub. bells, snare dr., bass dr., slapstick, wind chimes., t.-tam, glock.), harp., pno, vln. I, vln. II, vla, vc., cb.
- c. 10 minutes
- October 24, 2003
- Score Sample
to contact composer about this piece.
February 24th, 2004
Variations on chords: Distances, for Symphony Orchestra (2003) - Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Kleinhans Music Hall (Buffalo, NY)
Conducted by Ron Spigelman
October 24th, 2003
Variations on chords: Distances, for Symphony Orchestra (2003) - Eastman Philharmonia Orchestra
Eastman Theatre (Rochester, NY)