The unusual title of this work stems from the fact that it was commissioned by the European Community Chamber Orchestra for European Music Year 1985 with funds made available by the Arts Council of Great Britain.

I chose for my work a variation form to create a showpiece for chamber orchestra in many contrasting moods with a unifying theme. The piece lasts 16 minutes and falls into 9 sections: an opening theme, 7 main variations – each with having other variations within them and a final codetta.

It opens with a tranquil statement of the theme on the oboe, then a link passage (which is also used as the final statement) leads to a fast highly-charged outgoing movement. A dramatic variation follows featuring bold exchanges which contrast loud with soft.

In variation 3 a gentle melody is heard in displaced waltz time. the next variation is for strings alone playing pizzicato throughout. Solo oboe and strings feature in the following nocturne. The sixth variation is a sort of ‘galop’ with fragments of the theme passed between oboes, and later in violins, in canon. Some double tonguing on the oboe leads straight into a ‘march grotesque’ which in turn leads to the brief codetta.


Written 1985

Chamber Orchestra
Length 15′

Commission: European Community Chamber Orchestra
Dedication: ‘To Ambrose Miller’
Publisher: Universal Edition

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