St Denio Variations (1999)

Trumph Series 1082 (publ. 2000)
Duration: approx. 7:00 mins.

I spent a number of years worshipping at Penge corps, South London (UK) playing in a small-medium ensemble of typically 15 players. During that time I went through a period where I desired to write large-occasion music for smaller bands. During this period St Denio Variations came about, along with Hanover Variations, a Unity Series piece.

I have long been fascinated by the Welsh tune St. Denio and captivated by the words so often associated with it:

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.

Walter Chalmers Smith (1824-1908)
SA Songbook 8 (Tune: St Denio TB 569)

Sample score pages
(right-click to download or 
open in a new window)

St  Denio Variations p1&2.pdf St Denio Variations p1&2.pdf
Size : 84.396 Kb
Type : pdf

As the years went by the time came when I just simply had to write something... what we have today is the end result. Am I happy with it?  Not really. This was the first piece I wrote with the aid of computer software. On reflection I think the flexibility this brings went to my head and simply, there's far too much in it: too much going on at the same time, too many ideas, just too much everything. I don't think it's a coincidence that I have not heard of many bands playing it on a regular basis. Having said that, the North York Temple Young People's Band - a group of competent young musicians - have given it a sterling reading in the YouTube video below.

The Army were gracious enough to publish St Denio Variations - for which I am thankful, but maybe someday I'll re-visit it and see if I can make it more accessible.  

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