The Bossa Nova Variations
for sextet — 2008
Having had Odaline de la Martinez and her Lorelt (Lontano Records Ltd) as a client in my webmaster capacity for some time, I asked Odaline if she would mind looking at my Son of the Bebop Variations, possibly with a view to arranging it for her group (as it turned out I eventually arranged it for a much larger group, which I felt it needed). She liked the piece, and on the strength of that she asked me to write something for Lontano to play in the 2008 La Linea festival on London’s South Bank. The theme of her two concerts was simply ‘Brazil’, which she said I could interpret in any way I liked. Back in the 1960s I used to enjoy listening to bossa nova, so it seemed appropriate to write a Bossa Nova Variations as a companion piece to the earlier Bebop piece.
I was given the ensemble of flute, oboe, clarinet (or any members of their families), violin, cello and piano to work with, which was not immediately a combination that made me comfortable (no percussion!). Furthermore, I had not written a new piece for over nine years, so there was a great deal of hesitation on my part (first, write your bossa nova tune...). Eventually, however, a piece came together, for which I chose to use the darker sounds of cor anglais and bass clarinet (and a little bit of alto flute). I used my old Fractal Music software to rotate the basic material through various angles for some of the variations.
- flute / alto flute
- cor anglais
- bass clarinet
Performances / broadcasts / ‘real’ recordings
- Première: 2008, Purcell Room, London: Lontano, conductor Odaline de la Martinez
Listen to MIDI version (7:55)
This is the identical recording twice, the choice being offered in case of technical hiccups on either of the ‘mother ships’. Note: these two players will run simultaneously, so unless you fancy a double dose (out of sync) of my ‘spiritual output’, I recommend that you take care to avoid this happening!
This a computer-generated mockup of music for ‘real’ instruments. Clearly it is no substitute for a live performance, but it’s all I’ve got — or perhaps all I can make public for various reasons. There’s a fuller disclaimer on the Listen page.
...with a sneak preview of the score
Or just in case YouTube isn’t co-operating today...
- Sequencer: MOTU Digital Performer (Mac)
- Each part recorded dry to a mono audio track (apart from the piano which is stereo), then positioned for final stereo mix, with a modicum of MOTU ProVerb for reverb.
- Woodwinds: EastWest Hollywood Orchestral Woodwind (host: Play)
- Strings: Spitfire Audio Solo Strings (host: Kontakt 5)
- Piano: Modartt Pianoteq 5
- Score: MakeMusic Finale
- Movie: Apple iMovie
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