Prologue and Variations

for String Orchestra

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

Performing Ensemble: String Orchestra
Duration: 13:00
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

"Prologue and Variations" for String Orchestra was commissioned by the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and was premiered by the Chattanooga Symphony under the direction of Richard Cormier on April 10, 1984.

The "Prologue" begins slowly (Andante misterioso), accelerates to a faster tempo (un poco piu mosso), then returns to the original tempo, ending expectantly, but with a pause separating the "Prologue from the Variations".

The "Variation" movement is considerably longer than the "Prologue". It consists of four sections of contrasting speed and character: "Allegro", "Lento", "Presto", "Tempo Primo (Andante misterioso)", all based on some aspect of the "Prologue". Although this movement is constructed through variation and development of material from the "Prologue", these are not ?variations? in the traditional sense, because in the classical variation form, the structure of the initial theme is maintained in all of the variations.

In using the word ?prologue,? I meant to suggest a dramatic analogy, because, in a way, the function of the "Prologue" in this work is to introduce ?characters? (musical ideas), some of which are drawn rather fully, while others are only suggested. It is in the ensuing section, "Variations", that the ?drama? unfolds.

Another important aspect of "Prologue and Variations" is that it celebrates the special sonorities, character and expressiveness of the string orchestra.

Scores & Parts

Prologue and Variations - Full Score - Study

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the Chattanooga Symphony orchestra.
Composition Date 1984
Orchestration Str.
Premiere 10th April, 1984. Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, Richard Cormier, conductor.

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