Shapeshifter, that mythical being that can change its physical appearance, has a direct analogy in music. To the delight of our ears, musical material changes its aural appearance when it returns in a composition. A melody may appear in different harmonic clothes, harmonies are cleverly recontextualized when presented in a new rhythmic guise. There are whole genres (passacaglia, theme and variations, to name but two) that engage the listener in some form of shapshifting.

However, thorough all its transformations, I like to believe the shapeshifter retains its soul, that essence of itself. This ShapeShifter explores that essence. The “soul” in this case is an underlying harmony that is presented in various ways through the different sections of the piece, from hovering to fickle to glassy to hunched to shadowed to skittering (as marked in the score).

Of course, any ShapeShifter worthy of the name can't be taken too seriously. This business of transforming is not for the dour or earthbound. Accordingly, much of the music here is whimsical, even cartoonish. The transformations don't even end when the piece stops; the final gesture dissipating into yet another shape in the ear of the listener as that listener reflects back on the journey of the performance.