Mockbeggar Variations by Guy Woolfenden
Prelude, Theme and Five Variations
Unlike my other pieces for concert band, Mockbeggar Variations has no roots in any of my work for the Royal Shakespeare Company, but resulted from a commission by Robert Roscoe for the Berkshire Youth Wind Orchestra, with funds provided by the Berkshire Young Musicians Trust. Robert, on learning that I was stuck for a suitable title, and noting my penchant for the unusual, suggested the address of the Trust – Mockbeggar House – might take my fancy.
The Prelude hints at the melodic and harmonic material of the Theme, which appears in the thirty-first bar, distributed between various solo instruments and small groups of players. The five succeeding variations are contrasted in mood, tempo, style and instrumentation.
A large part of the score was written in a chalet high in the Swiss Alps with a continual clangour of sixteen different pitches of cow bell constantly ringing in my ears. There is no Mahlerian hint of this in the music, nor was my wife, Jane, successful in shooing the cows away or muffling their bells…..!
USA Band Grade 4.5
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Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester 20th July 1991
Berkshire County Music Service, Reading, England
Doyen CD DOY 042 Gallimaufry, featuring the wind music of Guy Woolfenden
Dinmore Records DRD 272 world-wide-woolfenden
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Press & Public Reviews
Mockbeggar Variations…..is a delightful blend of textures along the tried and tested method of Prelude, Theme and five Variations. I think this is the real gem of the disc, and I listened to it over and over again for new sounds and combinations of colour.