Colburn Variations

for String Orchestra

Steven Stucky

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

Quick Overview

This work is intended as a tribute to the spirit, talent, and dedication of the students, faculty, and staff of the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, and to Richard Colburn's vision and commitment in establishing and supporting this worthy effort over many years.

The piece is dedicated to Betty Freeman, that extraordinary friend and lover of music whose belief in the future of our art has nurtured countless composers and enriched the lives of countless listeners.

The work takes the form of a theme and variations. The theme -- really only a short, simple motif -- is derived from the name 'Colburn':

O Do = C
L La = A
B B-flat (in the usual German spelling)
U Ut = C
R Re = D

There are six variations and a finale, the whole amounting to about 12 minutes of music. The first variation is a meditation on the interval of the minor third (the distance from C to A at the beginning of the Theme), while the second is a lyrical melody for the viola section with pizzicato accompaniment. The third variation, a perpetual motion, speeds the theme up radically, while the fourth casts it as dense, massive chords. The fifth variation brings a slow violin solo accompanied by harmonies that are really just a slow-motion of Variation IV, while the sixth provides pulsating chords in the lower strings as a backdrop for yet another melodic transformation of the theme. In the fast finale, fragments of the theme play return in clearer form, leading to a unison statement to close the work.

Available on Rental

Scores & Parts

Colburn Variations - Full Score - Study

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the Colburn School of Performing Arts, with generous support of Betty Freeman
Composition Date 2002
Duration 12:00
Orchestration Str.
Premiere 18 May 2002 - Los AngelesColburn Chamber OrchestraRonald Leonard, conductor


Theme. Molto calmo
Variation I. Fluido e dolce
Variation II. Moderato, parlando
Variation III. Con fuoco
Variation IV. Largo, con forza
Variation V. Larghissimo
Variation VI. Con tenderezza
Finale. Allegro vivace

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