Composition - - American Recorder Society
Westminster Variations
By Anthony St. Pierre July 2004
This is a set of 18 variations on the "Big Ben" tune heard mostly famously at Westminster (The Parliament) in London, but originally composed for the church of St. Mary, Cambridge, in 1793, and attributed to William Crotch, at the time an undergraduate student at Cambridge University. In this trio, harmonies are largely the byproduct of counterpoint and the motif moves rapidly from one tonal center to another.

The accompanying recording features the composer (S), Anne Massicotte (A), and Scott Paterson (T). Duration: 4:00
-- Anthony St. PIerre
A very clever set of short variations on the famous Big Ben carillon theme, as viewed through the signature St. Pierre fun-house lens. Surprising harmonies and some tricky cross-rhythms add great interest and humor to this piece based on just 8 notes! Lots of accidentals will keep your fingers and reading skills in top form (almost every key makes an appearance in both major and minor), but nothing moves so quickly as to push it over the technical tipping point. Some high B’s and A-flats occur in the Soprano (some enhanced by flattement), as well as low notes on the Tenor which is the bottom part in this SAT trio. The composer even manages to sneak in a cuckoo clock.
-- Glen Shannon
No. of Recorder Parts:
New Music for Recorder
Date Added:
Concert, Fast/Up-tempo, Tonal/Melodic, Non-tonal/Modern, Variations/Fantasies/Adaptations