Variations on an English Pastoral Theme
By Rick England
No Longer Available
Highland/Etling String Orchestra
Variations on an English Pastoral Theme is based on the tune "Brother James's Air." At the heart of the piece is the opening violin solo melody, which is rather free-form in a wistful, quasi-improvisatory folk style-as if played while sitting outdoors on a rock. The melody wanders in and out of modal territory in the manner of early 20th century English string suites. Subsequent variations feature guitar-like accompaniment, duets, fragments of melodic material for each instrument, and a wide range of sweeping dynamic contrasts. The piece closes quietly, as it began, but in a new key with the solo in the cello.