top of page

Duration: c. 14 minutes








Programme Notes:

The year 2007 marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of the British composer Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) and as such I thought it an appropriate moment to write something in tribute to this event. There are quite a few enigmas about this piece and they are all intentional! First and foremost is that the variations are not constructed on any of Elgar’s actual themes. Rather I have written a sequence of contrasting sections (all played without a break) on the essence and character of his musical style. I have also written this work with bands, the soloists within, conductors and, not least, their audience firmly in mind. The language is essentially tonal and the test musical rather than overtly technical. There are no tempo indications other than suggested metronome marks. I have deliberately kept things to a minimum as the true test here is to find the style and interpret that aspect over the whole structure. Whereas the faster sections are more or less self explanatory the slower parts require deliberate rubato and much feeling. This is for the conductors to discover and I encourage them to do so. Adjudicators should be fully aware that I sanction this aspect but it requires an insight and understanding to successfully execute so ‘any old thing’ will not suffice! The ‘variation’ commencing at rehearsal letter P is the emotional core of the piece and requires a passionate but not saccharine approach to pacing and sensuality. The cadenza type material is built into the process rather than being a separate sequence of entities. There are many allusions to the music of Elgar here without recourse to blatant pastiche – if it is thought of as a series of songs and dances this may help. The final comment is the dedication, after one of Elgar’s own but subtly adjusted: to my friend pictured within – never to be revealed – now there’s an enigma!



Eb Soprano Cornet, Bb Solo Cornets, Bb Repiano Cornet,  Bb Cornets 2 (2 players), Bb Cornets 3 (2 players),

Bb Flugel Horn, Eb Horns Solo.1.2, Bb Baritone Horns 1.2,

Bb Trombones 1.2, Bass Trombone,

Bb Euphoniums 1.2, Eb Bass 1.2, Bb Bass 1.2,

Timpani, Percussion 1.2


Percussion Requirements:



Performance Notes:


Available Recordings:

Elgar Variations

Click image to view page 1 of the score

Terra Australis - The Music of Martin Ellerby - Vol. 3

Grimethorpe Colliery Band

Cond.  James Gourlay


Polyphonic Reproductions Ltd.


Elgar Variations

Brass Band Willebroek

Cond. Frans Violet





Black Dyke Band

Cond. Dr. Nicholas J. Childs




Now that's what I call brass Volume 5

Cory Band



World of Brass

WOB 130 CD

European Brass Band Championships 2007

Cory Band

Cond. Dr. Robert Childs




bottom of page