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Variations for Chamber Orchestra - 2005                                                  


(*10*11 / 1000 / 1 Perc/ Hrp / 11111)


Composed for and commissioned by the National Arts Centre


  • Premiere: June 29, 2005, National Arts Centre, Ottawa/Ontario, L'Orchestre de la Francophonie, Jean-Phillippe Trembley - conductor


Variations available from the Canadian Music Centre


The compositional emphasis of Variations is to explore a variety of timbres, moods, and structures for a chamber orchestra with a single connecting thematic idea.  Chamber orchestra is a unique ensemble. It is the synthesis of the intimacy of chamber music with the size and sonic impact of an orchestra, thus posing an interesting challenge to explore the dichotomy of these contrasting musical concepts.


1. Theme

The theme is presented over the opening gesture. As each note is sounded, the orchestration and harmony thickens.  Starting with solo flute, the ensemble builds to a dense and loud texture.


2. Fast

Fleeting gestures are paired with long melodies in the beginning of this movement. Constantly surging, a groove is finally established, and rushes the work to the ending. 


3. Slow

The low instruments are featured in this dirge like movement.  Inverse to Fast, fleeting gestures are in the lowest instruments and are paired with long melodies above.  Jazz like harmonies are alluded to throughout.


4. Spirited

This quick little movement is defined by a complex repeating 8 measure rhythm. The theme is divided into 3 distinct sections, yet still maintaining the regularity of the unusual rhythmic pattern.


5. Fugato


The subject of this "fugue" consists of 4 distinct melodic riffs.  The countersubject contrasts the subject with irregular short note gestures.  This movement is an experiment in erratic form, and should feel at times improvised, although it is highly notated.



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