The Magician Variations
Soprano Saxophone and Piano
THE MAGICIAN VARIATIONS is based on a theme presented in the middle of “Uranus: The Magician” from Gustav Holst’s monumental work, The Planets, now in the Public Domain. This variation set begins with a more-or-less transcription of Holst’s theme for soprano saxophone and piano, opened by Holst’s musical signature, G-S-A-H in German notation (G-E flat-A-B in English notation), which acts as the harmonic springboard for the entire piece. The first variation is fiery and technically demanding. The second variation is much slower and more ethereal but still contains the energy inherent in the theme. The third variation for solo piano is dissonant and crazed—a quartal, quintal, and chromatic treatment of the theme. The last variation is quite exuberant and recalls material from earlier in the piece near the end.