Variations for Piano and Strings
by Bruce Stark
for piano soloist and string orchestra
(about 13 minutes)
VIRTUAL DEMO (software playback):
Variations for Piano and Strings was written during the early months of 2019 in Redmond, Washington. It is a through-composed piece in which a theme--first introduced partially by the piano then in its complete form by strings--provides material for a series of variations. String orchestra and piano produce sounds that are among my cherished favorites, so I wanted to create a piece that, while not a concerto, features the piano as soloist but also features the strings, utilizing the many sounds both are capable of in ways that mutually enhance their expressive capabilities. Over the course of the piece a variety of textures are heard, from solo piano flourishes to passages for string quartet, jam session-inspired dialogues between piano and solo violin, and full-bodied string orchestra writing.
As the piece unfolds, three distinct themes come into focus: 1) the initial melody, 2) a broad theme derived from its inversion, and 3) a rhythmically altered version that explores fragments of parallel modes (ionian, lydian, mixolydian, aeolian), presented in meters of 7, 6 and 5--a kind of rhythmic forshortening with each iteration. The work culminates with references to all three in an energetic finale.
(product will be available for purchase later this year—please contact Bruce Stark with any questions)