solo piano (about 10 minutes)
The opening theme of Paul Osterfield's Piano Variations (2014) introduces several elements that are explored in its seven variations. A whole tone motive and major triads generate the main theme. Some of the variations expound upon the bass line, others explore the whole tone scale and extended tonal sonorities, yet others develop the original motive. Following the relatively straight-forward theme, the first variations is translucent and subdued. The second variation consists of fast passagework in octaves, with occasional chords punctuating the texture. Following an abrupt ending of the second, the third variation seems timeless, moving glacially and leading directly into the fast arpeggios of the fourth variation. The fifth variation's stately yet fluctuating nature contrasts with the sixth's blazing whirlwind of sound. The seventh variation returns to the calm and placid sound world like in the first variation, then culminates in a restatement of the initial theme, with thicker chords and a more robust sound. Piano Variations was composed for pianist Arunesh Nadgir.
Score available for purchase from J.W. Pepper.