Gwyneth Walker

Riddle Variations

for Piano (2016)

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Download a PDF file of the full score of this composition. This score may be printed and duplicated for the purposes of performances.

The title for the Riddle Variations was inspired, in good humor, by Elgar's Enigma Variations. Unlike the Elgar orchestral work (with hidden references to friends and colleagues), this new piano music is not mysterious (enigmatic) in message. Instead, it is simply a set of variations on a familiar English-American folk song, The Riddle Song ("I gave my love a cherry that has no stone"). This was a favorite childhood melody often sung by the composer and her mother.

The six variations present the tune in various guises -- inverted, in the minor mode, as a tango (!) with blues harmonies, and in syncopated rhythms. By the end, the tune is bursting with energy!

The six variations are marked as follows: 1. florid; (Interlude 1 - playfully); 2. with warmth; (Interlude 2 - very playfully); 3. tenderly; 4. as a tango; 5. suddenly peaceful; 6. celebratory

Notes by the composer