Phillip Andrew Brookes – Fantasy Variations, op. 38
(b. 10 December 1952, Allbrook, Hampshire)
Variation I p.3
Variation II p.6
Variation III p.12
Variation IV p.17
Variation V. p.20
Finale: a Variety of Variation p.22
This set of orchestral variations on an original theme was written in Southgate, North London, completed on 24 June 1982, and entered into a competition. It did not win although it received an “honourable mention”. But the desire to write it had not been any competition but rather feelings of elation at the composer’s personal circumstances, newly married, in a new home, and having begun a new career. Much of the music is associated with personal memories of that time – in particular of being drenched in a sudden downpour while returning from work (Variation II).
The theme itself is ripe for variation treatment, opening with a wide-spaced falling idea that highlights the interval of a tritone. A contrasting lyrical phrase returns the music to the opening idea. Notable too is a distinctive bass line. These elements all stimulate later variations. The Theme and Variations I-V follow a conventional format with contrasting speeds and instrumentation. The first three variations can be regarded as a sort of ‘opening movement’, while Variations IV and V provide the ‘slow movement’ of what is in essence a three-movement structure
The Finale: A Variety of Variations is a longer movement – almost half the length of the whole work – incorporating five variations. They are: (1) from the beginning of the Finale until letter L; (2) the repeated section from letter L; (3) the lyrical section from letter N; (4) the fugato section from letter V; (5) and the return of the Theme at the Molto Maestoso (letter W). These variations are treated as elements of a larger structure in an attempt to give a satisfying and unifying close to the whole set. At the very end the horns call out the tritone that has been prominent throughout.
Phillip Brookes, 2020
For performance material please contact Musikproduktion Höflich (www.musikmph.de), Munich.
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