Leanna Primiani’s Variations for piano is a worthy homage to Aaron Copland’s own Piano Variations of 1930. Primiani’s work shares several facets with Copland’s. The variations are meant to be played attacca so there is a certain fluidity in the development rather than episodic movement-by-movement bifurcation; both Primiani and Copland open with angular gestures, though Primiani’s work diverges by investing notably in triplet rhythms that give a spikier presence to her theme; and both themes are punctuated by vertical simultaneities that are quite dissonant.
Primiani’s simultaneities are comprised mostly of superimposed trichords (with one dyad) separated by register and maximizing chromatic content. The variations themselves most readily vary the degree to which the angular first theme is emphasized at the expense of the simultaneities, or vice versa; what changes from movement to movement is the proportion of each idea, and the degree of development of each idea the movement entails.
In some movements, the angular triplet theme is developed heavily; in other movements, the simultaneities are explored fully. However, starkly contrasting dynamics, tempo and meter changes, and wide shifts in register refresh the vibrancy of the materials at all times throughout the work.