Commissioned by the American Harp Society for its 1984 National Performance Competition, Acrostic Paraphrase was first performed at the Twentieth National Conference at Arizona State University in Tempe by this writer to whom the piece is also dedicated.
The work is a tonal composition. The haunting melody, developed by skillful use of inner voices and appropriate climaxes, makes it an effective and fulfilling solo to perform. It is for the advanced player both technically and in terms of musical sophistication. The deceptively simple melody belies the intricacy and subtlety of its development. Del Tredici is meticulous in his markings: careful observance of phrase, dynamic, and tempo indications makes clear his intent.
The composer writes:
Acrostic Paraphrase is based on a lullaby-like concluding aria from Final Alice, written in 1976. The text for the aria is the seven-verse epilogue poem to Through the Looking Glass, the second of Lewis Carroll's Alice books. The poem is an acrostic; the initial letters of the lines spell out Alice Pleasance Liddell, the name of the real-life Alice for whom Carroll wrote his stories.
My paraphrase begins as an ornamented transcription of the song. An undulating figure in triplets is added to the simple quarter-note movement of the original. After the fifth verse a cadenza is interpolated, followed by a freer rhapsodic version of the two concluding verses.
The last third of the Paraphrase is newly-composed. It is part fantasy, part cadenza, and not only presents previously heard musical motives in new harmonic contrapuntal guises, but attempts, as well, to exploit some of the harp's unique virtuosic and expressive resources.
- Ann Stockton, Winter 1984