* Rare original artist' book - Music scores and instructions for performance * Variations on a Natural Theme (1982), as in Dick Higgins words, is a large orchestral work, in some ways a companion to the Ten Ways, since this time it uses gamuts (in this case selected by the individual musicians) and photo derivations made from a female model; she was insistent that she not be recognizable, since she was a teacher and was afraid that it would be damaging to her professionally if it were known that she had posed for figure photographs. This was fine by me, since it fitted in with my plans to use very extreme derivations which are, at times, difficult to relate to the human figure at all. If performed, the work would sound rather like the Ten Ways. Socially the work interests me too, since it means that each musician must act creatively to work out his or her part and must therefore take the responsibility to make it sound according to his vision. Most musicians in most performances are near-automatons, and that does not accord with how I think human beings should be, especially in artistic situations—they should be (and the audience as well) as alert as the spectators at a boxing match, empathizing with each thrust and event, seeing where it all goes, and fitting into their own roles appropriately.
"This work for standard orchestra is intended to be performed direct from the graphic notation. The orchestral parts are superimposed over a set of twenty-eight visual images made from photographs of a female nude, interpreted according to a set of very explicit instructions, to minimize any improvisatory tendency." D.H.