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Composer says performance of his piece was ‘beautiful in every way'

By Ford Rasmussen | March 14, 2017

A musical score that premiered in Utah on Sunday got enthusiastic reviews from its composer, who said it was the best performance in the history of the 12-year-old piece.

The piece, “Variationes Alchemisticae,” commissioned by the Chamber of Music Palisades, has been performed dozens of times, American composer Byron Adams said. He has been present at about 10 of the performances, in places such as Colorado, Los Angeles and England.

Adams, who had never been to Utah before, attended Utah State’s Museum and Music concert at the Caine Performance Hall on Sunday.

The concert’s musicians consisted of members from the Utah Symphony and the Fry Street Quartet.

“There have been no better performances, and it was beautiful in every way,” said Adams, who sat on the upper aisle closest to the stage during the event.

The Utah-based musicians “internalized” the work, Adams said, and excelled in their attention to dynamics.

Austin Chadwick, a student in music education, was in the audience with several other music students. He said that “Variationes Alchemisticae” was his favorite piece performed at the concert.

“What he was trying to portray through the music, he did very successfully,” Chadwick said about the composer.

The song tells various emotional stories throughout its 30-minute duration. Adams described it as a spiritual piece inspired by his interest in alchemy. He said the song signifies “submission to the power of the universe.”

Due to the renovations of the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, only one more Museum and Music event will be held this semester. The last concert is scheduled for April 20. It will take place in the Caine Performance Hall at 7:30 p.m.