Soundtrack variations on an original theme.

I’m not going to reveal the inspiration for this theme and variations work — probably because it’s an obscure work by a somewhat well-known artist who nevertheless may or may not be embarrassed by it.

In any case, a-way back in 2005, I stumbled on a work that inspired a melody in me. I originally explored the melody in a 7-minute rhapsody, but I eventually expanded it to a 6-movement set of variations, treating the theme and countertheme in different styles each time, culminating in an emotional statement of my own style as it was developing at the time.

The Themes

As the title suggests, the overall theme of the piece is intended to convey a sense of warmth, in both the literal sense of finding warmth and refuge from the cold, and the figurative sense of human contact and connection.

The musical theme and countertheme both represent parts of the emotional theme, with the primary theme a melody made mostly of shorter notes, wandering around, mostly in a downward motion, while the countertheme is slower, rising, warmer.

The Variations

I’ve referred to the work as a set of “soundtrack variations” because they’re not necessarily like a traditional set of variations on a theme. The variations play with musical style and setting more than manipulation of the theme melodies themselves. The third and sixth movements are the most variant, introducing their own melodic material and treating the themes more as counterthemes — or in the third movement’s case, as hidden countermelodies, in the style of the Enigma Variations.

The other three movements are more straightforward presentations of the melodic material, varying the setting and style (post-minimalist, rock fusion, jazz). This conforms with the idea that this would serve as a soundtrack of sorts to accompany a short film perhaps, or a television production, where different styles of music would be required, but would ideally still be recognizable. This media adaptation does not exist — this isn’t like a rescoring of a film or anything like that, but rather a score to an imagined film or series.

Performance and Recordings

Like most of my works, especially early ones written for orchestral settings, this has not been performed. Some MIDI renders exist, though they are terrible quality. I may go back and re-render them someday, but it is not this day.