06: VARIATIONS

(Walter Mony, violin) • This work is cast in the venerable form of a passacaglia. The realization of the compositional processes in the variations pose prodigious technical problems for the viola: complex fingerings, multiple stoppings, athletic stretches, ventures into high registers, and convoluted string crossings. The harmonic context is Rollin’s unique blend of extended tonality and coruscating chromaticism. A 29-measure theme sets a scene of solemnity and sense of immanence. The variations which follow project a variety of moods – graceful legato, military echoes, playful frolics in 7/8, volatile leaps into the stratosphere or “mosquito” register of the viola, a coquettish caprice in 5/8, theatrical affectation, and back to graceful lyricism. The final 4 measures close the proceedings with haunting harmonies leaving the fragrance of numinousness.

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