C0 note (16,35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

D0 note (18.35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

C0 note (16,35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

F0 note (21.83 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

G0 note (24.50 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

A0 note (27.50 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

Rosenzweig, Morris: Roman Passacaglias 



Basic information

  • Title: 
    Roman Passacaglias
  • Subtitle: 
    piano trio
  • Duration (in minutes): 
  • Year of composition: 
  • First performance (year): 


  • Program notes: 

    Roman Passacaglias was written between October 1991 and January 1992. It was composed for, and dedicated to, the Leonardo Trio who premiered it in Amsterdam during March 1992.

    The second word in the title refers to the different passacaglia themes which permeate and competitively inhabit the musical landscape. Of the five passacaglia themes, three perhaps project themselves more prominently: the "cello" passacaglia, which consists of the rapid alteration of bowed and plucked notes (most of which are generated by sixths), the "piano" passacaglia, which sounds as intermittent chords made in part of perfect intervals, and the "violin" passacaglia which is scalar in nature and the most aggressive of the three. The mode of variation on these themes is traditional to a point and could be described as ornamental, figurative and additive in nature. However, as the piece progresses these themes lose their initial identity and are passed around to different instruments.

    At one point (about two thirds through the work) all three of the these themes sound simultaneously. This particular joining emits a number of specific harmonies which form the chordal basis of another of the work's passacaglias and which also functions as the resource of the piece's freer musical episodes. Yet another passacaglia theme is the one heard first, played by violin and piano and made of chordal thirds.

    The piece opens with unison passages in the violin and piano followed by a similar passage in the cello and piano. The music of these scenes makes possible -- both technically and emotionally -- the existence of the passacaglia themes and their variations. With the intention of rounding the structure, the opening music recurs in varied form near the end of the composition. This rounding off lends the work an air of Roman pragmitism (not unlike the symmetricality of a Roman arch). Much of the harmony in the piece, perhaps more clearly heard near the end, is made of small snipets of sounds reminiescent of scores for Roman movies of the Ben Hur-and-less- variety popular in the fifties and sixties.





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