Variations (2000)

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Commissioned by Joel Sachs and the New Juilliard Ensemble through their annual Student Composers Competition.
Premiered by the New Juilliard Ensemble, George Manahan dir., in Alice Tully Hall on February 18, 2000.


Variations is comprised of a single movement divided into 11 sections - Theme, 7 variations, 2 interludes, and a coda. The idea of a unified and organic structure was very important to me from the beginning. I was interested in transcending the traditional roles of a theme and its succeeding variations, wherein the theme presents material which is treated by (more or less) discrete segments of contrasting music. Instead, I constructed the successive variations in such a way that they would deal not only with the theme but also with the accumulating materials of the piece as a whole. The variations thus share with the theme the power to suggest new materials and paths of development for what follows. The two interludes, which lie between variations 2 - 3 and Variations 3 - 4, play an especially important role in this respect. They establich important precedents for both the music that follows them and this music's relation to what has gone before.