These were commissioned by Deborah Wills, a bright light in the world. They are 7 minutes or so in length, and there are 5 movements to it. The first is a energetic and pointed prelude, the second a quick invention with lots of hand crossing, the third a jagged intermezzo, the fourth a funny waltz, and the fifth a sentimental postlude.
These variations are dedicated to Simone Dinnerstein, in memory of Ralph Elsaesser. Ralph was a close friend of mine who passed away in Summer, 2015, at the age of 83. Before he passed away he recorded the complete first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier by J.S. Bach, which can be heard here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmAFRNVJ2t8
He was a piano professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, and before he passed away he also gave me his complete library of piano music. He taught me many things about life, music, and I still miss him. A year later I heard Simone Dinnerstein perform the Goldberg Variations (by Bach) in Ottawa, and was so touched by her playing that I promised to write her a set of contemporary Goldberg Variations. It was a very cathartic summer of writing, letting go of emotions that I didn't know I still felt, one year after Ralph had passed away. The whole piece takes a little over an hour to perform without repeats. It follows the same structure of the Goldberg Variations, that is, an aria opens, and following that are 30 variations on the bass-line of the aria. The whole piece is 87 pages, and in the preview is the cover, the performance notes, the aria, and first page of each variation.