My initial ideas for this piece were more obviously connected with colours than is the finished work, which consists of an abstract series of variations on a basic set of chords. Because these chords, to begin with, suggested specific colours to my mind, and because they are germinal to the variations (which are not ‘strict’ variations), the title ‘Rainbow Studies’ seemed appropriate. But this title shouldn’t be taken as being descriptive, so much as my own starting point for the work.
A very brief introduction is immediately expanded, and followed by a cadenza-like passage for the piano alone. This ends with a violent distortion of the introduction, out of which the wind instruments emerge with floating chords. These chords become the (contrapuntal) basis of a scherzo: first wind alone, then a rather mechanical ‘trio’ with piano, and a varied development of the scherzo, which the piano dominates and eventually overwhelms. The central slow section is more relaxed. It leads to another version of the introduction, and then another, but shorter, scherzo (based on the piano cadenza). This is brought to a similar conclusion as the previous scherzo, and the slow coda is more overtly colouristic.