• Kenneth Leighton
  • Metamorphoses (1966)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Barnes Music Club in collaboration with Watney Mann Ltd.

  • Violinpf
  • 19 min

Programme Note

This work was written during 1965 and 1966 in response to a commission from Barnes Music Club, and the first performance was given in London during the autumn of 1966 by Frances Mason and Ashley Lawrence.

As the title implies, the music, though continuous, is in the form of variations, which grow out of the opening phrase on violin solo. This phrase uses a note-series which is the basis of all the music, both a thematic and structural basis.

The variations in turn are built up into three main sections or movements; which might be divided as follows:

Movement 1:
a) a slow lyrical section in the manner of a Passacaglia - building up to -
b) a faster rhythmical and dance-like variation
c) much shortened version of the opening slow music.

Movement 2:
a) Scherzo, in which the piano leads, and the violin adds pizzicato interjections
b) a gentle trio section in the manner of a lullaby
c) an inverted return of the Scherzo, to which is added further lyrical elements on the violin
d) this culminates in the central protest of the work, a violent Allegro.

Movement 3:
a) a mysterious variation for muted violin, with drum-beats and harmonics on the piano
b) a rather spectral Fugue, which seeks for reconciliation rather than culmination.

View Score

Score sample