Walter Ross

Walter Ross

~ Escher's Sketches

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Escher's Sketches

  1. Rippled surface
  2. Metamorphoses II
  3. Cycle
  4. Magic mirror
  5. Metamorphoses I

Escher's Sketches was written as a solo tuba work to be performed as a recital piece. Mark Nelson requested the work and performed the premier.

It is based on selected works of the noted artist M.C. Escher. I make use of the complete sonorous range of the tuba and I challenge the performer with subtle dynamics, tempo changes, and style changes which all reflect elements of the drawings of Escher.

One of the most interesting movements is Magic mirror which musically recreates the mirror through an inversion of the melodic elements half way through the movement. Dynamics, rhythm, and tempo changes are also treated in a "mirror" fashion.

In Cycle, the man running down the stairs is comically re-created through descending melodic patterns. Musically, he climbs back up through a hidden stairway only to repeat the cycle again but in a slightly altered way.

In both movements entitled Metamorphoses I make use of changing rhythmic and melodic elements that fuse together as each movement progresses. The intervals of the minor and major third as well as the minor second determine much of the melodic material in Metamorphoses II.

The first movement, Rippled surface, is quite reflective in character, making use of the deep sonorous qualities of the middle register of the tuba. There are no measures. Consequently, a free application of rhythm within the structure of standard notation allows the performer additional freedom to stress important melodic and rhythmic elements.

In several of the movements there is evidence of 12 tonerow writing.


Escher's Sketches has been recorded by Mark Nelson on Crystal Records. Compact Disc: CD-691. Cassette: C-691.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

For archival quality scans of scores and parts, or lossless audio recordings please contact the composer.


Walter Ross, wbr@virginia.edu :: Home