Barcarole Variations

  • Title Barcarole Variations
  • Year 2015
  • Instr hp, vln
  • Duration 10 min
  • Categories Chamber
  • Publisher ACA

Commissioned by Susan and Renée Jolles.

World premiere: January 29, 2017 Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY; Renée and Susan Jolles


New York Premiere of Barcarole Variations


While all of Louis Karchin’s music here is highly enjoyable and rewarding for both participants and listeners, the most memorable moments occur in his Barcarole Variations, each a jewel, which stands out even beyond its automatic recommendation to all violin-harp duos on the circuit. Dedicatees Renée and Susan Jolles, the daughter-and-mother combination from the Eastman and Manhattan Schools of Music, give performances that are virtuoso in an intimate way, alert to every change in sound and nuance.

Laurence Vittes, Gramophone (02/2021)

Barcarole Variations is for violin and harp, a less common combination than harp with flute for some reason, but functioning very well here. The ‘variations’ are not literal in this case, and while there is a recognisable theme, this takes its line through the work in the form of fragments or contours that become developed over seven sections. Skillful interaction between the instruments and distinctive contrasts carry the duration of this not insubstantial piece, which is in many ways the essence of Karchin’s ability to create new and highly personal statements from traditional means.

Dominy Clements, MusicWeb International (02/2021)