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Theme & Variations : for solo cello

by Andrew Anderson (2021)

Work Overview

Variations only work if there is an instantly memorisable (or pre-existing) theme; a distinct rhythm and harmony does the job here. Variation I (Con Moto) restates the theme's harmony as extended semiquaver strings in 6/8 time. Variation II (Larghetto) switches to a major key for a sunnier version of the theme whose rhythm is now reversed, allowing the semiquaver mordents that concluded each bar to be rewritten as "mordents" with an interval of a third: a sound I associate with Japanese music. The harmony is also sometimes reversed across groups of a few bars. For the silvery tones of Variation III (Andante misterioso), the performer is called to play double-stopped artificial harmonics: Shuhei assured me that, even if they weren't a thing, they could be. A tranquil Berceuese (Variation IV) luxuriates in suspended harmonies, before launching into a Finale (Variation V) full of furious runs and broken chords.

Work Details

Year: 2021

Instrumentation: Cello.

Duration: 8 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Written for: Shuhei Lawson

Commission note: Commissioned by The ANAM Set, Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) with funds provided by Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund.

Performances of this work

25 Nov 21: Ian Hanger Recital Hall, Queensland Conservatorium. Featuring Shuhei Lawson.

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