ENS.2021.1b | 20′
Timorchestra Variations is a partial orchestration of my extensive set of variations for solo piano on a theme by my close friend Timo Andres. Originally consisting of Timo’s theme, nine variations, and a closing aria, I chose to orchestrate only the theme and six variations that seemed most suited for clothing in opulent orchestral garb. As my variations were not simply restatements of the original melodic and harmonic material ornamented with intricate arabesques, as in the classical tradition, but a collection of small individual pieces based on—extruded from, as it were—Timo’s raw material, so too are these orchestral versions not mere orchestrations of the piano score but virtual re-compositions of it, each movement given new life as a discrete orchestral miniature. Timo’s theme is based around two ideas, a simple turn and a rising and falling three-note gesture. Cast in an AAB form, we first hear both ideas semplice over wandering chords, until in the B section the turn is transformed into a descending pattern that settles into a luscious abschied. Timorchestra Variations begins with a performance of Timo’s theme, followed by six variations, with variations 1 and 4 corresponding to the first A theme, variations 2 and 5 to the second, and variations 3 and 6 to the B theme. Some variations are more spare, examining each of the three musical ideas as if under a microscope, while others reference variations by Liszt, Brahms, Bach, Pärt—even Webern. Timorchestra Variations was written for a small orchestra including several more unusual instruments such as piccolo trumpet, celesta, and mandolin, their high clear tones adding a certain piquancy to the orchestral texture. Both the original set of variations and its orchestration were composed in January 2021, and this piece lasts about twenty minutes.