VARIATIONS ON 'TIME AND TIME AGAIN'
Variations on "Time and Time Again" is the fourth of a series of pieces - which include Vocalissimus, Entanglement, and Theo's Sketchbook - that I like to think of as music in third person. When we are listening to a piece of music, I think we presume that it is the composer's voice that we hear, whereas in a work of fiction we assume that the writer stands back at a greater distance: the writer's perspective comes out cumulatively from the interaction of characters. Even in a first person narrative, we understand that the voice is not the author's voice. In these pieces I've tried to do something parallel in music. Vocalissimus sets the same short Wallace Stevens poem 18 times, each from a different perspective. Theo's Sketch takes the form of a selection of works from a fictional composer, spanning his entire lifetime. In "Variations on Time and Time Again" I engage with the classical tradition of writing a set of variations on someone else's theme. Here the theme "Time and Time Again" is a fictional construct of a jazz standard, which then I, in my own voice, respond to in a series of four variations. Unlike most variations, though, the theme here emerges at the end, rather than being stated outright at the beginning.