Chorale and Variations
- Chorale and
Variations was commissioned by
Thierry Patel of the Ecole Intercommunale de Gaillon-Aubevoye,
France, and premiered by their concert band, with the composer
conducting, on 3rd May 2003.
- As the title
suggests, the piece comprises a set of variations on an original
chorale, which is presented at the start. Set firmly in C minor,
the chorale uses the dark middle and lower sections of the band
and is extended with minor variations until a pause leads to the
first real variation, marked Vivo.
- This is a moto
perpetuo, featuring repeated eighth notes which initially
form the main melodic interest and then an accompaniment to a
lyrical theme in the tenor register.
- The second
variation, Andante, opens boldly and introduces a solo
clarinet, which plays a metrical variation on the chorale tune.
The brass build to a full band climax and elements of the
chorale bring this variation to a close.
- The final
variation opens with quiet, nervous energy until its main theme
(based on the opening notes of the chorale) is introduced. This
reaches a climax and leads to a second florid theme in the low
clarinets, which is to play an important part later in the work.
The chorale makes a brief appearance until the main theme
reappears. This leads to a triumphant final augmented statement
of the chorale theme, decorated by the florid clarinet theme in
the upper woodwinds.