Theme and Variations
for piano
I. Alegretto   II. Moderato   III. Lento   IV. Allegro  V. Ecstatic
Year: 1996
Duration: 5'
First Performance: 15 February 2005 Taplin Auditorium- Princeton, NJ
                                                    Aaron Jackson, piano

Click here to listen to an MP3

Score only available in hard copy format

Program Notes

Instinct served me well through my first few years of college, but I ultimately got to a point where I felt like I didn't know how to write music anymore. My problem was fairly typical among young composers- I knew how to start a piece and sometimes knew how to end it, but I generally had no idea what to do in between. The concept of "development" seemed very abstract to me, and I couldn't really make sense of the idea in my own music.

My teacher at the time, Leonardo Balada, became frustrated with my slow progress and forced me to sit down and write a set of short piano variations. It was his hope that I would break through my creative impasse if I could just focus on how to manipulate one or two musical elements in a short, closed form.

It was a good assignment. These variations and the process I went through to make them were a watershed experience for me. Although short in duration, very simple, and somewhat "Prokofiev-like" in style, I nonetheless had a much better idea when I finished them of how to develop material out in longer forms.

Unfortunately, at the time they were completed, I was only able to obtain a reading of the theme and first variation, and I have never heard the piece in its entirety. I would like to thank Aaron Jackson for allowing me to hear an older piece of personal significance for the first time.




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