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Whitwell, Craig: Sacher Variations

Whitwell, Craig: Sacher Variations

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Paul Sacher (1906-1999); influential Swiss conductor, patron and impresario. He commissioned and performed many notable 20th century works, including Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, Stravinsky’s Concerto in D, etc. On the occasion of his 70th birthday, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich commissioned several composers to write pieces using Sacher’s name, giving rise to the enigmatic eSACHERe musical cryptogram (Eb, A, C, B, E, D). This is used as the basis for these variations, being presented originally in the opening six notes, and thereafter variously transposed, inverted, interleaved, etc., throughout the rest. There are eight variations: 1-(untitled), 2-Minuet, 3-Intermezzo, 4-Abstract, 5-Two Lines, 6-Grave, 7-Fluente, 8-(untitled).


Craig Whitwell, born 1948, Santa Rosa, California. Began playing professionally in high school. BA, San Jose State University, studying trombone with Bob Szabo. MA, University of Pennsylvania, studying composition with George Crumb and Richard Wernick. Developed a long career in software engineering and didn’t compose during that time. Recently retired and began writing music again, picking up where he left off, for unaccompanied trombone.

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