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The Companion Guide to Rome has a duration of roughly 30 minutes and is composed in nine movements:
The ninth movement, "Sabina," was originally composed as a standalone piece in 2006 for the Janaki String Trio. It can be performed separately or as part of the complete work.
The title of the work comes from the eponymous 1965 guidebook to Rome by Georgina Masson. The movements thus commemorate nine of Norman's favorite Roman churches mentioned in the text. Norman wrote in the score program note:
Like many of the buildings in Rome, this piece is the product of a long gestation marked by numerous renovations, accretions, and ground-up reconstructions. What has emerged is a collection of portraits--nine in all--of my favorite Roman churches. The music is, at different times and in different ways, informed by the proportions of the churches, the qualities of their surfaces, the patterns in their floors, the artwork on their walls, and the lives and legends of the saints whose names they bear. The more I worked on these miniatures, the less they had to do with actual buildings and the more they became character studies of imaginary people, my companions for a year of living in the Eternal City.
The inspiration for each movement is as follows: