Five Variations on a Theme of Violet Archer
for Piano solo (1975)
by Ron Hannah

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Duration: about 9 minutes

    As her final assignment in my student days, Violet gave her class the task of analyzing a work of her own from which she had deleted portions - a few bars here, a line there. We were to rebuild what was missing from what she had left on the page. My

  
reconstruction proved to be quite close to the original, so I guess I had learned something. At any rate, I came to enjoy the theme and so wrote these variations as a parting tribute to a beloved teacher. She always had a way of taking my week's writing assignment, finding the very part that was giving me the greatest trouble, and making a helpful suggestion.

    This collection ranges from easy (one is in the style of a Gymnopédie à la Satie) to quite dramatic, rhythmic and demanding (there's even a full-scale fugue), and are in my style (and Violet's) of dissonant tonality. There have been a few performances, but I have lost track of all but one.

    The entire score can be downloaded by clicking above left. You can also listen to a computer-generated version (fairly convincing nonetheless). I write because I must, and to express myself to players and audiences. I detest the current atmosphere surrounding copyright, based on greed and the turning of art into a commodity. It's free, people, and it's a good piece of music. If you decide to perform it I ask only that you inform me so that I can keep this website updated. To my knowledge it has not been recorded by a live pianist, so if you make a recording and care to send me a copy, that would be nice too!


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