Throughout musical history the title Capriccio has been used for an exceptionally wide variety of pieces that are in fact types of dances, fugues, improvisations, fantasias, and cadenzas. The most common denominator among these is a preference for a free flow of ideas over formalistic thought. As early as the seventeenth century Praetorius wrote that in a capriccio “one takes a mood but deserts it for another whenever it comes to his mind to do so. One can add, take away, digress, turn and direct the music as one wishes…” This description has much in common with the process that occurred in composing Capriccio. Once the opening measures were decided, I had no idea of what the piece would become, only how long it would be since the commission was for a short work of five to 8 minutes duration. In retrospect, the resulting piece takes two or three ideas and explores them in ways that are questioning, playful, intense, mysterious, sad, laughing, gentle, and triumphant, until they eventually all disappear at the end.
Capriccio was commissioned by Chamber Orchestra FIRST EDITIONS, James Freeman conductor. The first performances took place on February 17 & 18, 2018, at Haverford College and Trinity Center for Urban Life respectively.