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Caprice (2005)

For solo violin

Premiered by Rachel Barton Pine, Supreme Court Concert, 18 May 2005
Duration: 5'

CD Available

This work is available on
Augusta Read Thomas - Of Being Is A Bird


This work is available on
Clarissa Bevilacqua plays Augusta Read Thomas

Program Note

Caprice for solo violin was made as a wedding gift to Greg and Rachel Barton Pine

The work, which is about five minutes in duration, is marked with this performance indication: "Passionate and rubato; like a jazz improvisation. Accentuate the variety of characters."

Made up of several phrases, each of which ends on a fermata, the works characters include: majestic, playful, elegant, spirited, jazzy, calmly floating, bold, with repose, passionate, resolute, assertive, and graceful.  The form is slightly unusual in that the five phrases are of asymmetrical length.  They last 20, 30, 40, 110, 120 seconds long, respectively, giving the feeling that the first three phrases are warming up to, and building energy and material for, the longer final two phrases.   As if the "improviser" takes the materials a little further "out" (in the jazz sense of that word) with each successive phrase.  The piece accumulates - rather than being in one of the standard forms, such as ABA form, or rondo form.

While the music was very carefully made, and is highly nuanced, and is a "serious" piece of music, it should sound free, spontaneous, jazzy, playful, as if improvised, and alive. 

—Augusta Read Thomas

Selected Reviews

Maureen Buja, Interlude (March 16, 2023) "Its title (Caprice) harkens back to Paganini’s 24 Caprices, but also the essence of ‘caprice’: wild and random, jumping from here to there and then somewhere else – if nothing else, you feel your mind expanding!"


Violinist Rachel Barton Pine
Photo by Andrew Eccles

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Augusta Read Thomas's works, please contact G. Schirmer Inc..