This Theme and Variations was written in 2004 for an assignment, the brief being to provide a suitable ambience for a museum of classical sculpture. This, together with the performers being required to dress in late-eighteenth century costume, suggested to me that the theme should be as close as possible to a classical idiom. Having considered alternative idioms, such as background ‘furniture’ music and repetitive minimalist music, a neo-classical approach seemed to be the most appropriate.
Each of the variations highlights one of the five instruments, taken in the order of flute, horn, bassoon, oboe and clarinet. The variations are also contrasted in style and tempo, suggested by the sub-titles: Scherzo, Elegy, Nocturne, Choral and Homage to Scarlatti. This suggests the variety of sculptures I imagine to be on display at the museum. The piece closes with a short reprise of the original theme.