Clare Shore's Prelude and Variations for piano solo
Date of completion: October, 1981; Approximate Duration: 10'
The opening section of the Prelude consists of constant rhythmic battling between the sixteen-note ostinato theme
and a four-note ostinato from its head motive. This feud is interrupted by a more placid fugal section whose subject
is derived from the opening theme. The final entries are transformed gradually into the ostinato theme and lead to a
truncated version of the opening rhythmic section. The second movement, Variations, is comprised of twelve variations,
each concluding with a grace note embellishment. The final variation consists of a tranquil fugue which is transformed
suddenly during its development to that of the first movement. It culminates in a recall of the opening material of
the first movement.
Listen to the second movement of Prelude and Variations
Prelude and Variations was premiered by pianist Rebecca LaBrecque in New York's Carnegie Recital Hall on
February 5, 1982, on a program titled New American Music for Piano. The following reviews are of that performance.
NEW YORK POST, Robert Kimball: "Clare Shore's Prelude and Variations had a good deal of contrast
and variety and showed her to be a promising young composer." (2/11/82)
NEW YORK TIMES, John Rockwell: "...earnest blends of chromaticism and neo-Classicism" (2/9/82)
NEW YORK TIMES, Bernard Holland: "...interesting contrapuntal writing..." (2/8/82)
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