Vivian Fine





Double Variations for Piano Solo
Dedicated to Claudia Stevens




10 minutes


Claudia Stevens, in honor of Elliot Carter’s 75th birthday


December 5, 1983, Carnegie Recital Hall, New York City, Claudia Stevens, piano

program notes

The first five variations are transformations of the opening material. Beginning with the sixth variation a fragment from Carter’s Double Concerto is introduced. This is combined with the opening statement for the remaining seven variations.

–Composer’s program notes

Double Variations marked the occasion of Elliot Carter’s seventy-fifth birthday. Pianist Claudia Stevens commissioned and premiered the work at Carnegie Recital Hall, December 5, 1983.
     Double Variations recalls the textural and metrical complexities of Carter’s writing and his affinity for interweaving contrapuntal lines. Carter’s String Quartet No. 1 (1951), with these characteristics in an atonal context, influenced Fine’s writing of Double Variations. She commented on the piece: “The two-theme format of Double Variations refers to Carter’s String Quartet. There is a dialogue element to Double Variations and it is extremely difficult. I’ve never played it.”
     The elements discussed briefly—unusual meter, rhythms, pedaling, disjunct linear writing, exploitation of contrasting registers, harmonic construction, and variation format—provide an enormous spectrum of textural contrasts and pianistic challenges; however, it is Fine’s manipulation of various pitch sets and groupings that provide the greatest cohesive factor in Double Variations.

–Leslie Jones, “The Solo Piano Music of Vivian Fine,” Doctor of musical arts thesis, University of Cincinnatti, 1994


“…the textures and colors of sound and the complex rhythmic variations created an exciting and listenable work.”

–Betty Luse, Daily Press, Newport News, Virginia, November 4, 1983

audio files

Double Variations