Doremi Variations (2015)
for solo piano
Var. I. Allegro vivace - Largo espressivo
Var. II. Allegro agitato - Largo espressivo
Var. III. Largo semplice - Presto - Allegro - Andante grazioso
Recorded on April 4, 2016, Taplin Auditorium, Princeton, NJ
I have always admired Beethoven’s humor. I love how he moves from innermost sincerity to the rash jocularity—from innig to bathos—in a heartbeat. I love the composed false starts, wrong notes, unexpected turns, and awkward counterpoint, all flowering from an inexhaustible reserve of sheer inventiveness. Beethoven’s humor is cathartic and transcendent; it implies struggle and irony. Perhaps this humor derives its power from complex musical structure, wherein simple mottos unify vagaries through unceasing change.
My Doremi Variations are unabashedly influenced by Beethoven. The simple motto do-re-mi appears and reappears in many different guises throughout the piece. All three variations move from B major to Db major through rather unusual harmonic progressions while passing seamlessly between allegro and largo. The first and second variations pass quickly; the third variation alone occupies two-thirds of the entire piece’s duration. In it, a fughetta leads to a pseudo-folk passage via a pedal point; an epic flourish of harmony ensues, and the variation closes with another fughetta, now as a codetta.
Doremi Variations were written in the fall of 2015 for myself :)