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Metamorphoses was written while the composer was a composition Teaching Fellow at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, USA. His teachers included Ross Lee Finney, who had been a student of Alban Berg while Berg was writing his Violin Concerto. Although Metamorphoses is not a twelve-tone work, the pieces surrounding it (a clarinet sonata and a concerto for viola and computer-generated sounds) had been, bearing the trademarks of Berg in the sensitivity of organised pitches and their relation to one another.
This work explores pitch relations of smaller groups - the intervals of a third and fourth which turn in upon themselves to fully explore the space before moving on to another register. Melodies are thus self-reflective, and the metamorphoses lend the work a consistency via melodic rather tham harmonic structures.
Metamorphoses was never programmed in a concert series, although it was given a reading by the Cincinnati Symphony. It was also taken on national tour in 1973 by the MIT Symphony Orchestra during the Nixon Watergate hearings.