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Program Notes

Welsh Variants

Concord Band commission (1988)

James Curnow, composer

Welsh Variants was our second commission by James Curnow. The great success of Five Concord Diversions made Curnow a prime candidate for a second commission. Curnow used the Welsh folk song "Suo Gan" as the basis of a theme and variations. A lively introduction precedes the appearance of the theme and then three variations are heard.


The Concord Band commissioned James Curnow to compose Welsh Variants in 1988. The composer conducted the premier performance of this work in Concord on October 22nd, 1988. This single-movement work is based on the Welsh folk song "Suo Gan." Following an energetic opening section, the main theme is stated by the oboe in an andante section. Four variations of this theme then follow, ending with a majestic final statement using all of the forces of the band.


Welsh Variants by James Curnow was commissioned by the Concord Band in 1988, when the Band was under the baton of Music Director William M. Toland. The composer conducted the world premier of the composition on October 22nd, 1988 in Concord. Over the years, James Curnow has written several other outstanding works for the Concord Band, including Overture to a Winter Festival and Five Concord Diversions for band and brass quintet. The main theme of Welsh Variants is "Suo Gan," a traditional Welsh folk song, also featured in the film Empire of the Sun. The theme is first presented in a brilliant style by the woodwinds. Curnow then transforms the theme into a number of contrasting variations utilizing the full resources of the symphonic band, as well as featuring many solo instruments. Welsh Variants is one of the favorite Concord Band commissions among many members of the band.



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