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Variations on a Theme of Paganini

Published by R. Smith & Co., Ltd., 1975. (Watford, England)

Brass Quartet (2 cornets, Eb or F horn and Euphonium).

Performance level: Advanced or professional. Performance time: Eight minutes. Range: (for Euphonium) F Ab concert.

College level American euphoniumists often suffer in their performance studies for want of quality chamber music experience. While there is a rich variety of music for brass quintet, musically sophisticated works for quartet are not always easy to find in the United States. There is an answer to this dilemma across the Atlantic in Great Britain where a long tradition of competitive brass music has produced a substantial catalogue of fine music for brass quartet. Beginning with this issue, EUPHONIA will devote attention to this unique and useful literature.

Certainly one of the most accessible quartets from the audience's perspective is Joseph Horovitz' Variations on a Theme of Paganini, commissioned by the National Brass Band Championships with funding by the Arts Council of Great Britain and first performed at the National Finals Concert at Royal Albert Hall in London in 1974. Even the most casual music lover will recognize the theme in this quartet as that made famous in Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini for piano and orchestra. Nevertheless, Mr. Horovitz' quartet, like his famous Music Hall Suite and his Euphonium Concerto, are compositionally quite mature and technically challenging and will provide a great deal of pedagogical material for each member of the quartet as well as a musically interesting addition to any recital program.

Variations on a Theme of Paganini is published by R. Smith and Co. Although all well trained hornists read Eb with ease, you may wish to specify "F horn part" in your order if you will be using French horn predominantly; the horn part is as difficult technically as any of the other parts.

Variations on a Theme of Paganini is very highly recommended by this reviewer and may be ordered directly from:

Just Brass Online


P.O. BOX 210

Review by Glenn K. Call

NOTE: this article is reprinted from Euphonia magazine, January-February, 1981, with permission of the publisher, Glenn Call.

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