The Brass Variations

Be sure to reference how this variation compares to the original theme and the other variations on the Thematic Fragments page,

THIS VARIATION IS INCOMPLETE (updated 11/11/2023). I’m pretty premature, but I wanted to give you a sense of where I am. This page will be updated as the music is completed.

“The Chase” makes reference to the fact that this variation starts with a full traditional fugue, a form in which a theme is stated, then repeated by other “voices” (they “chase” each other!) with a gradual layering of material until the piece becomes quite dense and full of motion. It was quite popular in the time of J.S. Bach (he wrote uncountable numbers of them), though there are plenty of less Baroque examples. (A favorite of mine is the opening movement to Béla Bartók’s “Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste”).

The excerpt below begins with the horn stating the full fugue theme (based on the original opening theme to this work — see Thematic Fragments) carried by the French horn, then by 2nd trumpet, then 1st trumpet, then (after a grand entrance!) by the tuba. After that, the mood suddenly changes, becoming thinner and quieter, leading to a full statement by the trombone of the opening theme in the original key. Things stop there, since that’s as far as I’ve gotten.

When completed, Variation #5 will return after that, and the entire piece will close with a full statement of the opening theme by the entire quintet, in much the same way as it appeared at the beginning. It will wind down to an endpoint like it did there, but without a key change and transition to new material.

But then, it all may change!

Go to Full Composition

Go to The Brass Variations home page