Metamorphoses was commissioned by Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, and was first performed by the Goldsmiths Sinfonia, conducted by the composer, in June 1979. It is scored for a large wind and brass ensemble, with the addition of piano, percussion and double basses.
The title of the work refers to the process of constant change that occurs in the music. The opening four-note motif provides most of the intervallic and harmonic material. The work is in three main sections, the first of which alternates between pulsed and non-pulsed (or ‘free’) music; the second is a slow section with solos for flute and clarinet enhanced by electronic means, whilst the third is high-charged rhythmic music which resolves the symphonic argument.