CALYPSO ROUND was originally written in 1981 as a
chamber music work for flute, horn, marimba, harp, and double bass.
It was the finale of a group of five works I wrote for a chamber music
concert featuring various combinations of these five instruments.
Unfortunately, this concert never took place and, though some of the other
works have since been performed, this work, due to its virtuosity and
unusual instrumentation, remained unplayed.
I always have liked this work, however, and had planned
to orchestrate it for several years. I, finally, was able to do that
during the summer of 2000 for a performance with Robert Moody and the
At the time the work was written, minimalism was the
rage in classical music. Though I was not very excited by the
minimalist music being written at that time, I did like the idea of
organizing my music around several levels of rhythmic hierarchy. I
had been working on the idea for several years. Somebody once
mentioned to me that the only work of minimalism that they liked was the
Pachabel CANON. Though this was meant to be a joke, the idea stuck
with me, and I made, in this work, extensive use of canonic writing in
what, otherwise, would have been an essentially minimalist texture.
This is how I came up with the idea of the piece being a
"round". The "calypso" part is a personal
tribute to the Latin American dance styles which have had such a large
influence on my music.