• Peter Dickinson
  • Transformations (1970)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Feeney Trust

See also Satie Transformations for keyboard

  • 3(pic)3334331timp.3percpf.celstr
  • 17 min

Programme Note

Transformations arises from my interest, over many years, in the music of the French composer Erik Satie (1866-1925), but it is not necessary to know the details in order to understand the work. As a kind of homage to Satie I have taken three of his early piano pieces, without actual quotation, and derived material from them. In the process Satie is completely transformed and almost unrecognisably jazzed up - a feature of Transformations is that its themes are heard in straight and syncopated versions, often at the same time. Popular idioms are used within the framework of a serious orchestral piece, sombre in tone at the beginning and at the end.

There are five sections which follow without a break. The first is adagio, introducing the celesta between tutti chords; the second an allegro in a continuous texture over a pizzicato bass increasing in intensity. The third, central section is a blues, framed on each side by a few bars loud, slow chorale. Then comes another allegro, based on a very simple rhythm first heard pizzicato on the strings. Finally a short adagio, with a flute solo, reaffirms the calm of the opening.

Transformations was commissioned by the Feeney Trust and was completed in January 1970. It was received its first performance from the CBSO, under Meredith Davies, at the opening concert of the Cheltenham Festival that year.

© Peter Dickinson