Castelli Variations for Viola and Piano (1997)

After two memoriam pieces in memory of my late sister, Stefanie, I decided to explore new territory, to turn my back on 'serious' composition. The weight of the two pieces written before the Castelli Variations was too great to continue writing in a similar vein. I decided to explore the aesthetics of 'postmodernism' and humor in music, as well as some chance procedures and parody techniques. This work is the first product of what Jonathan Kramer dubbed my 'Satie Period'.

The theme is taken from the final movement of the 2nd String Quartet of James A. Castelli, Jr.; Itself, like its composer, is quirky, a bit abnormal. I then created 9 variations on the theme, running through a gamut of styles and stylistic practices. One variation in the style of American minimalism, another in 15th century Burgundian fauxbourdon style. One which employs chance procedures, one based on total serialism, late romanticism, and so on. It's a wild ride of a piece, and a lot of fun.

Performance history:
11/97 - by Stefanie Taylor, viola and Christina Dahl, piano.
Miller Theatre, New York City.

To List of Works