King Bob’s Fantasy Variations Kevin Austin

A mixed piece composed in my last year of undergraduate studies at McGill University. The tape part is a loose collage of train sounds, digital garbage, other things (Holst, Gabrieli, some of my acoustic and ea pieces), and an important harmonic quote from the Istvan Anhalt Symphony No 1, and other bits of sonic flotsam. A very loose variation form -- or perhaps a kaleidoscope, it was part of my (long) farewell to (post)-modal writing, and in effect, was one of the last two instrumental pieces I composed until 2003, with one exception in 1988. The score still exists, the tape part is probably long gone.

The ‘Bob’ in the title was my tuba teacher, the most ‘unusual’, Mr Robert Ryker.

The stereo tape part was composed in the McGill Electronic Music Studio, then in the coach house behind 3500 Redpath Street in Montreal. Using a variety of sources, frequently quotational in nature, there were (unknown to me at that time) moves to the extension of pitched, harmonic, color and citation languages.

The instrumental writing was based upon a very loose re-representation of pitch-class sets and modal (quartal) structures. The ‘beating’ of the intonation in the instrumental parts is intentional. I thank Alcides Lanza for encouraging me to get a performance, and also thank him for preparation and conducting it.

Source: 2006

  • Year of composition: 1970
  • Instrumentation: for Brass Quintet and Tape
  • Duration of the submitted work: 19:51
  • Production: McGill University. Concert recording.

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