The Ballade Variations is an arrangement of the third movement of my Glass House Concerto, which I composed for Matthew Coley in 2011 and 2012. Matthew immediately recognized this movement’s popular appeal and asked me to make a version for vibraphone.
The title refers to the fact that the work is made up of repeated statements of a simple song-like melody over which the soloist presents a number of different figurations (chorale, pseudo-cadenza, arpeggiated/ostinato, etc.). The work’s midpoint is marked by a dramatic modulation from A-flat to C, and an entirely new lyrical melody. Fragments of this new tune are heard combined with the first as the work draws to a close. The arrangement of solo figuration around this midpoint is roughly symmetrical.
It should be mentioned that all of this musical material began life as the slow movement of my sonatina for violin and piano, which I composed concurrently with other movements of the concerto. I eventually discarded the idea of including a slow movement in that piece altogether, and the music ended up in the concerto.
The piece is virtually unchanged, apart from adjusting the solo part to account for the vibraphone’s range. This new version was premiered by Matthew Coley, accompanied by conductor Mike Golemo and the Iowa State University Wind Ensemble, in October, 2014. They are heard in the recording below.