Krummholz Variations


For Flute, Bb Clarinet, 2 Bassoons, C Trumpet, Bb Trumpet, Tenor Trombone, Bass Trombone (2016)




13 min.

Program Notes

Krummholz Variations is a tone poem that recalls aspects of life in the alpine zone, expressed through a set of short, connected variations: Dawn, Marmots, Alpine Meadow, Ptarmigan, The Summit, Headwaters, Cloudburst and Dusk. Krummholz, German for “crooked wood,” are twisted trees that serve as gateways to the alpine zone and mountaintop sentinels. These stunted trees are shaped through constant exposure to severe weather and treasured for their unique deformities. High altitude landscapes are a paradigm for beauty in the face of harshness, filled with moments of joy and serenity that blossom amidst extremes.

A consortium of 12 ensembles commissioned Krummholz Variations as a companion piece for Igor Stravinsky’s beloved Octet. The Stravinsky composition, a seminal work in the wind-brass chamber repertoire, deploys an unusual instrumentation (flute, clarinet, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets and 2 trombones). There was a need for additional music that could readily be programmed alongside it.

Oliver Caplan

Award-winning composer Oliver Caplan writes melodies that nourish our souls, offering a voice of hope in an uncertain world. Mr. Caplan’s works have been performed in over 120 performances nationwide. He has been commissioned by the Atlanta Chamber Players, Bella Piano Trio and Bronx Arts Ensemble, among others. Winner of a Special Citation for the American Prize in Orchestral Composition, additional recognitions include Veridian Symphony Competition Wins, Fifth House Ensemble Competition Grand Prize and VCCA fellowships. Recordings of Mr. Caplan’s music include his 2012 debut album Illuminations, 2015 EP Moon Over Appalachia and a track on the Sinfonietta of Riverdale’s 2016 album New World Serenade.

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