The term “variations” often connotes sterility, but, to me, there is no musical form that is more personal. The opening theme, three emotionally charged phrases, is difficult to follow as it mutates through most of the subsequent variations, but this is not necessary, nor even desirable. What is important is the ebb and flow of one variation moving into the next, often without pause, and the sharply differing moods that pour forth as a result.
The outline of the work is as follows:
Theme -- Maestoso
Variation 1: Mournful; delicate
Var. 2: Cold, with little expression
Var. 3: A little faster
Var. 4: Angrily
Var. 5: Mournful
Var. 6: Passionately
Var. 7: Giocoso
Var. 8: Con spirito
Var. 9: Somber
Var. 10: Allegro Reiteration of original theme
Var. 11: Coda; espressivo (with a sense of resignation) Over the years, friends and colleagues have sometimes teased me for my apparent lack of imagination regarding the naming of my compositions. Kind listeners, I can only hope that you find the content of the work contains more passion than its title.
"Rokeach's 1982 flute-piano duo is a peach of a work. The composer suggests that the variation format may not be discernible on initial exposure. But the ear adjusts quickly to the flutist's delirious flights, much like a coloratura soprano in the maddest of embellished mad scenes. Flutist Angela Koregelos gave a smashing performance, supplying an infinite variety of colors, bedazzling passagework and breath control to spare."
San Francisco Examiner
Listen to flutist Eldred Spell and pianist
Marcia Murray play Variations for Flute
and Piano (and kindly forgive the low fidelity).