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Theme and Variants (Orchestral Song No. 2)

by Empty Ensemble



Orchestra recordings often center around multi-movement works, programmed in a way to emulate a concert. Concerts are the life blood of orchestras, and orchestra recordings pretty much amount to gift shop merchandise.

So what stops an orchestra from recording an album, in the vernacular sense? Why does no repertoire exist for an orchestra to go in a studio for a few days and come out with a work geared for a streaming service or physical medium?

That's the question Orchestral Songs attempts to answer. This project seeks to create pieces suited for a popular recording form factor. But these pieces are not popular music -- they take advantage all the strengths an orchestra offers.

Theme and Variants is the second piece completed for this project. It follows a simple directive: create at least 10 pieces no longer than 5 minutes in length that can be recorded as an album.

As the title suggests, Theme and Variants takes the form of theme and variations, with a significant twist -- the theme is never changed throughout the piece. As such, "variant" is a more apt description instead of "variation."


released February 23, 2024

Greg Bueno: keyboards


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Empty Ensemble Seattle, Washington

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