“Time” (Theme and Variations)
Composed and performed by Reynold D. Philipsek 2019 copyright Zino-Rephi Music (BMI) all rights reserved
The tune for “Time” came to me quite spontaneously one day about 20 years ago. I recorded a short version of it for guitar, 2 cellos and 2 violins shortly after that.
The tune was unlike anything I had done before or even believed could be brewing in my subconscious. The tune did, however, put me in mind of something antique and yet timeless so I named it “Time.” I then proceeded to forget about the piece.
A couple of years ago I heard Rachmaninoff’s “Variations on a Theme by Corelli.” I was struck by the similarity between the Corelli theme and “Time.” They were far from exact matches and in different kets but still similar.
When casting around for a musical project on my yearly two-month winter retreat I decided to write a set of variations for “Time.”
Because the very nature of the “theme and variations” form is episodic, it became obvious to me that an entire lifetime of events and emotions could be hinted at in the composition. Some variations (episodes) could be light and playful and others dark and more dramatic, etc.
The idea of depicting an entire lifetime of “phases” in six and a half minutes of music appealed to me. So proceeding from that premise I spent my winter working daily on the piece.
When I returned in April of this year, I contacted director/producer Rene Erickson about making a YouTube video on the piece. We worked on the video from May until late July.
Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6KRxC8CGLA
If you have a moment, check out my documentary, A Life Well Played.
Here is the link: https://youtu.be/StVG2TaKqbw
Great melodies, bold harmonies, audacious rhythms, plenty of virtuosity (Prokofiev was a piano virtuoso himself) and lots of Slavic charm and character.
For the past several weeks I have been listening repeatedly to these three concertos and only finding more and more to discover and admire each time. I have been a fan of the “Third” for many years but the “First” and”Second” are rather new to me.
The”First” was composed when Sergei Prokofiev was only 20 years old in 1911. The “Second” came a year later and the “Third” (probably the best known) was composed in 1921 when Prokofiev was only 30.
Sergei Prokofiev was quite a prolific composer during his rather short life of 62 years and his “greatness” (a word I don’t hand out easily) was apparent from the very start. Brilliant.
I also highly recommend the 1969 biography by Victor Seroff called “Sergei Prokofiev (A Soviet Tragedy).