Changes for orchestra (1991)
American Composers Alliance, 7 minutes
“a very attractive piece; the doublings in the orchestration glisten.” (Boston Globe)
“an ethereal and airy elegy” (San Francisco Bay Times)
“attractive and craftsmanly” (Boston Herald)
“subtly orchestrated and a pleasure to listen to” (Vivian Fine)
Changes is an impressionistic single movement for chamber orchestra. It was commissioned and premiered in 1991 by the Pro Arte Orchestra in Cambridge, Massachusetts at Harvard’s Sanders Theater for the debut concert of the new artistic director, Gisele Ben-Dor. It was also performed by the Women’s Symphony at Capital University in Ohio under Cynthia Katsarelis in 1993 and by the Women’s Philharmonic under JoAnn Falletta both in San Francisco as part of the regular 1994-95 season & also on tour.
The title of the piece refers to the haunting, oscillating figure in the harp that opens the piece and then recurs with the notes in a different order as in change ringing on a carillon. The notes of the “change” are derived from entry points in the slow movement of Ruth Crawford’s string quartet. Also, in honor of the bicentennial of the death of Mozart, several motifs from Mozart’s music (from the Overture to Don Giovanni and the “Dissonant” Quartet) are hidden and dispersed among various instruments of the orchestra. Although there is a lively and rather jazzy section with a thumping double bass pizzicato and brassy interpolations, the piece is largely elegaic.