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Nigel Keay - Variations on a Theme from At the Hawk's Well (2001)

A one-movement work for Piano Trio (Violin, Cello, & Piano). Duration: 8'54".

Piano Trio Full Score (PDF - 13 pages, 376Kb)   Piano Trio Violin Part (PDF)   Piano Trio Cello Part (PDF)

Variations on a Theme from At the Hawk's Well (2001) was first performed on 22nd March 2007 at the Music Department of the University of Otago (NZ) by Charmian Keay (violin), Jono Squire (cello) and Tom McGrath (piano).


Programme Note

This work is based on material from the opera At the Hawk's Well, specifically, the tonal thematic material associated with the Young Man which also appears later in the Dance Music. Constructed in an arch-form, both the violin and the cello share a dialogue based on a strong lyrical melody.

On the idea of variation, is not so much employed in the classical sense as the principal melody stays constant, the variation occurs in the accompanying texture throughout the piece. In the outer sections the melody is presented in a somewhat exuberant manner by the violin in contrast to the cello where it is more subdued.

Brief analysis of the form

bars 1-7: preamble.
bars 8-58: main thematic section with main melody principally carried by the violin.
bars 8-24: subsection statement of main theme constructed as two 8 bar melodies
bar 31: restatement of main theme in tonality of G, a tritone from the initial C# statement of the theme.
bar 41: restatement of the main theme in initial tonality of C#.
bars 58/3-92: transitional section constructed on new episodic material.
bars 93 - 109: main theme stated in the lower register by the cello in the initial C# tonality.
bars 110 - 113 linking passage.
bars 114 - 163 recapitulation of bars 8 - 58
bars 163 to end: coda section.


Listen to a recording of the work from the blumlein records CD Music for Small Groups released in 2011 and performed by Anastasiya Filippochkina - violin, Gabriel Casalis - cello & Debra Takakjian - piano:

CD cover