The initial inspiration for this composition came, not from the Greek legend, but from Salvador Dali’s painting of the same name. One aspect of Dali’s work I particularly admire is his ability to achieve many different representations from essentially the same image. This can be seen in many of his works: The Phantom Cart, Swans Reflecting Elephants, Apparition of a Face and a Fruit Dish on a Beach and many others. It is, of course, possible to accomplish similar concepts musically – composers have long been using Theme and Variations as a means of using the same material in a number of different guises. La Métamorphose was written using a musical structure which develops the principal musical ideas before they are actually presented. This creates a continual sense of evolution towards the final (though they were conceived first) melodic ideas.
Olivier Messiaen’s piano music, particularly Catalogue d’Oiseaux and La Fauvette des Jardins was a further inspirational stimulus for this composition and for this reason I decided to dedicate the work to his memory (he died in April 1992, two months before La Métamorphose was finished).
La Métamorphose de Narcisse