Diversions - Variations
on a Swiss Folk Song
Kantonal Musikverband commissioned Diversions as the 1st Division
test piece for a competition held in the Canton of Solothurn, Switzerland, in
It is a set of variations
on Der Heimetvogel, a folk song dating back to the 19th
The variations are based on
small parts of the tune, rather then the whole melody, and are prefaced by an
introduction based on the opening three notes. This is followed by a
presentation of the tune itself, which is played twice in different guises.
Variation 1 (Vivo e
This takes the form of a
moto perpetuo, the main theme starting with the first four notes of the folk
song. There is constant eighth-note activity, under which a second theme
develops and leads into:
Variation 2 (Subito meno
A macabre 12/8 march, with
a main theme which once again starts with a fraction of the folk song. This is
eventually interrupted by snatches of the song itself, played in the lower half
of the band. The trombones try to state the theme in full but are in turn cast
aside by the march tune which brings the variation to a close.
Variation 3 (Lento
An expressive melody
unfolds (again based on the first three notes of the folksong, in reverse) and
eventually builds to a climax for the whole band. As it subsides, the folk
song’s chorus is quietly recalled, leading to a short cadenza which sets the
mood for the finale.
Variation 4 (Vivace)
This takes the form of a fugue which develops on strict classical lines. Eventually, the folk song tries to establish itself and, after a full band statement of the fugue theme in two-part counterpoint, a climax is reached and the piece closes with a coda based on material from Variation 1.