CALYPSO ROUND was written in 1981 as a chamber music work for flute, horn, marimba, harp, and double bass. It was the finale of a group of five works I wrote for a chamber music concert featuring various combinations of these five instruments. Unfortunately, this concert never took place and, though some of the other works have since been performed, this work, due to its virtuosity and unusual instrumentation, remained unplayed.
I always liked the work, however, and had planned to orchestrate it for several years. I finally was able to do that during the summer of 2000, for a performance with Robert Moody and the Phoenix Symphony in January 2002.
At the time the work was written, minimalism was the rage in classical music. Though I was not very excited by the minimalist music being written at that time, I did like the idea of organizing my music around several levels of rhythmic hierarchy which I had been working for several years.
Somebody once mentioned to me that the only work of minimalism they liked was the Pachabel Canon. Though this was meant to be a joke, the idea stuck with me, and I made, in this work, extensive use of canonic writing in what, otherwise, would have been an essentially minimalist texture. This is how I came up with the idea of the piece being a “round”. The “calypso” part is a personal tribute to the Latin American dance styles which have had a large influence on my music, mainly through the music of Chick Corea and other jazz fusion artists.