Ghostwritten Variations (2015-16)
For Piano Trio
Commissioned and premiered by the Lysander Trio.
Premiere performance, march 20th 2016. Music at Kohl Mansion.
Further performances at the Da Camera Society in Los Angeles, CA.
As a composer deeply interest in literature, I've always been interested in novels with characters who are composers. After all, musicians seem to have been a part of stories since at least as far back as the myth of Orpheus. In the GhostwrittenVariations, each of the variations is written as though it was composed by one of those fictional composers. The composers represented in this piece are Adrian Leverkühn from Thomas Mann's epic novel Doctor Faustus; Robert Frobisher from David Mitchell's kaleidoscopic, post-modern masterpiece, Cloud Atlas; Peter Els from Richard Powers’s deeply movingOrfeo and Johannes Wright and the Orchestra from Kim Stanley Robinson’s science fiction novel The Memory of Whiteness,which takes place in the year 3229. Each variation takes as its clue descriptions of the composers’ music as they appear in the novels. The “theme” is first heard in the violin and consists of an expansive and chromatic melody. Its presence is felt subtly in each variation, as though to imply that these were all written by the same composer across many centuries. This theme of renewal and the return of the same characters in subsequent stories is central to the narrative of David Mitchell’sCloud Atlas and helps unify the music of the Ghostwritten Variations.