• Chameleon14:39

frank stemper

for clarinet, string trio and piano [15 min.]


Chameleon was written between Dec. 1982 and February 1984 especially for the Almont Ensemble, a new music quintet in Los Angeles during the 1980s that was as dedicated as they were talented.  What a great and intriguing group of folks:

Al Rice, clarinet
David Stenske, violin
Cynthia Fogg, viola
Tom Flaherty, ‘cello
Charlotte Zelka, piano

Chameleon consists of a three-part theme and six variations.  “Variation,” in this particular music, affects all the musical elements (i.e. rhythm, pitch, density, shape, etc.) of the theme, the spirit of which is the only consistent element throughout.  Therefore, each variation contrast drastically with the theme, and with the other variations.  As with the animal, this Chameleon camouflages itself significantly to hide within the aura of its surroundings. 

Musically, these surroundings are located in time as the dramatic unfolding of events, and the real Chameleon is nowhere to be found.


Commissioned by The Almont Ensemble of Los Angeles
Premiered 13 May 1984 by the Almont Ensemble in Los Angeles, California.
Subsequent performances by EARPLAY in San Francisco and Stanford U.
Recorded by The Almont Ensemble on Opus One Records, Inc.