Purcell's Ground With Variations
Last updated: 16.10.17
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Composer: H. Purcell Suppliers: dbe15.gif
Editor: Geoff Grainger Quintet A(T)/A(T)+B/T/B/B
Publisher: Ditty Box Enterprises Publication: DBE 801
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Length: approx. 3 ¼ mins.
Those who enjoy playing Johann Pachelbelbel's famous Canon will undoubtedly find very much pleasure in performing this similar but equally challenging work which is an 8-bar ground followed by 15 variations thereon. For those not yet in the know, Percy Scholes describes a Ground (or Bass Ground) as a variant of the Variation form, or, rather, it is perhaps, the first state of that form, for it came into use in the very early in the history of music. It was much used in Purcell-Bach-Handel period. The ground itself in this case is a gentle 6-bar descent from A to C followed by a little flourish ending on a sustained F. The 15 variations that follow are, as one would expect, of increasing complexity and technical difficulty. This adaptation for recorder quintet is arranged such that each voice in turn has an 8-bar solo accompanied by a single bass or sometimes by all other voices. As such it is an ensemble piece par excellence whereby each member may display his or her virtuosity. For those so inclined, it may also be performed humorously as a competition whereby the ensemble applauds or otherwise each "soloist" on completion his or her turn.
For the very brave, there is the final challenge in the shape of a tenor/bass duet version (DBE 802) of this work. This recorder adaptation has been made from an undated piece of piano music printed sometime in the early part of the nineteenth century by Dubois & Stodart, New York.
A tempo of 120 crotchets/min. is suggested.