CONCERT VARIATIONS for euphonium and piano
Program notes by the composer
The Concert Variations were commissioned by the Tubists Universal Brotherhood Association, composed during the summer of 1977, and premiered in Los Angeles on June 15, 1978 by Brian Bowman, euphonium, and Steven Harlos, piano, at the Third International Tuba- Euphonium Symposium-Workshop. It was reviewed by the late Don Baird in the Winter, 1979 T.U.B.A. Journal, and has been analyzed in great detail in Kenneth E. Shrum's doctoral dissertation An Analytical Commentary on the Euphonium and Tuba Music of Jan Bach completed at the Arizona State University under the direction of Dan Perantoni. The work is currently available through the T.U.B.A. Press, Annandale VA. With a duration of fifteen minutes, Concert Variations is, as its title implies, a set of variations on an original theme stated at the outset by the euphonium; each variation is based on different performance techniques of the instrument, including quarter-tones, trills, alternate fingerings (and resultant differing timbres), lip smears, valve glissandi, multiphonics produced by singing while playing, etc. Some variations are based on the entire theme, some on characteristic fragments of the theme. The last variation is a fugue whose subject is an ornamented version of the entire theme which opened the work; near the end of the piece this fugal subject is joined by the theme in its original form, creating two simultaneous versions of the theme at two different tempi.
Since its initial performance, this work has attained, by general consensus, the status of a "classic" among works for this combination of instruments, as its many performances around the world -- and its recordings -- will attest.