This theme and variations was composed with the piano compositions of Liszt, Rachmaninov, and other Romantic era composers in mind. in homage to the great Romantic era solo compositions, it should be approached with an eye for flair, creative flexibility, and a certain amount of reckless abandon.
Genre: Marimba (4-mallet) | # of Players: 1
Level: Medium Difficult | Duration: 12:00
I composed this work with the piano compositions of Liszt, Rachmaninov, and other Romantic era composers in mind. I hope that this work does justice to the Theme and Variations form and pleases both performers and their audiences through the variety of ways I’ve treated the theme—and the instrument!
The duration of this piece will depend greatly upon the temperament, style and technique of the performer, but will probably last around twelve minutes as a rule. If the work is too lengthy for a program, one possible sequence (lasting perhaps seven to eight minutes) is using the Theme and only these variations: III, IV, VI, VII, IX, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, and XVIII, followed by the Finale in full.
I have several specific suggestions regarding the score:
- In variation VIII the performer may choose to ignore the repeat and proceed directly to the second ending.
- Variation XV was written with the “three-hand” piano technique of Thalberg and Liszt in mind, so the notes with dual stems should be treated as the primary melody, occurring in the middle register surrounded on either side by accompaniment arpeggiations.
- Staccato articulations should generally be played as dead-strokes.
- There is no need to treat the tempo markings as sacred – my usage of fairly descriptive Italian terminology in this piece is a half-joking tribute to the flowery markings common throughout the Romantic era and is a marked contrast from my own general preference for plain and direct English-language score indications.
Finally, in homage to the great Romantic era solo compositions, this work should be approached with an eye for flair, creative flexibility, and a certain amount of reckless abandon. I look forward to hearing many different interpretations of the piece from some of today’s finest marimba players.