Variants on an Old English Round for String Orchestra

William Schuman

Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

The melody of ?Amaryllis? has held a place of special affection for me ever since I first heard it sung over 40 years ago. The words of this lovely song follow:

Turn, Amaryllis, to thy swain,
Thy Damon calls thee back again.
I know a pretty arbor night,
Where Apollo dare not lie.
Come to me and whilst I play.
Sing to my love a rondelay.

I first made use of ?Amaryllis? in an extended work, my string trio called "Amaryllis ?Variations on an Old English Round". More recently, I used the ?Amaryllis? melody and several other old English rounds in my "Concerto on Old English Rounds" for solo viola, women?s chorus and orchestra. Indeed, the present use is based on the opening and closing sections of the Concerto.

The ?Amaryllis? melody is set forth first by the unaccompanied violas, punctuated by pyramidic reflections from the other strings. Toward the end, the first violins conclude the original statement of the melody. The Variants consist of the melody set forth in various harmonic guises and with a variety of contrapuntal embellishments as the work travels its brief, tranquil course.

The work is dedicated to Andre Kostelanetz, who introduced it with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the summer of 1976.


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Additional Information

Composition Date 1976
Duration 00:10:00
Orchestration Str.
Premiere July 27, 1976, Philadelphia Orchestra, Andre Kostelanetz

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