snapshot of score of The Bossa Nova Variations

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.

Score extract (PDF)


Performances / broadcasts / ‘real’ recordings

Listen to MIDI version (7:55)