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01684 773883

VARIATIONS ON HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU by Peter Lawson
for orchestra
Goodmusic Concert Originals GMCO140

Catalogue Number: GMCO140

Difficulty level: E What's this?

ISMN: 9790222300781

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Variations on Happy Birthday  Pack image
Orchestration: 2 Flutes (2nd db. Piccolo), 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets in Bb, 2 Bassoons, 4 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in Bb, 3 Trombones, Tuba, Timpani,
Percussion (4 players: Snare Drum, Cymbals (clashed), Large Gong, Tam-tam, Temple Blocks, Castanets, Claves, Guiro, Tambourine, Bongos (high & low), Bass Drum, Wind chimes, Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Vibraphone, Tubular Bells), Harp (or Keyboard)
Strings (Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello, Bass)

In this series of variations on "Happy Birthday To You", Peter Lawson takes the listener on a journey through many different musical styles.
An introduction leads to a full-blown version of the theme, followed by a waltz sequence suggesting a Bavarian cuckoo clock, a Viennese waltz, an English tea dance and a yodelling waltz. We move to Latin-America for a rumba, a sort of salsa, then a 7/8 section in the minor key - and then we are in sunny Espana, with alternating bars of 6/8 & 3/4, followed by a Caribbean feel in 5/8 and a USA feel with hints of a 'Mission Impossible'. A quick salute to Rachmaninov's Russia gives way to a tango, and then a habanera, featuring a violin solo trying to play Bizet's Carmen but getting forced by the woodwind to join in "Happy Birthday" instead.
The solo violin has a gypsy-like Eastern-European cadenza, which leads to a doleful minor inversion of the first phrase of "Happy Birthday", accompanied by hushed tremolo strings, leading to a major version representing a Venetian gondolier singing to woo the ladies. The mood dramatically alters with the opening of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, taken apart by cheeky interruptions from the upper woodwind. Then off to Australia for a variation which 'fits' over Waltzing Matilda. A nod to Bollywood, then there are two far-Eastern variations, the first one reminiscent of Tibetan monks and the second one more song-like.
A fugato section begins in the strings and spreads up through the woodwind before Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor makes an entrance but is infiltrated and overpowered by "Happy Birthday"! The excitement builds until the brass majestically intone the full-blown "Happy Birthday" tune (opportunity for the audience to join in), leading to a dramatic conclusion.

A PACK includes a full score, string parts 4/4/3/4/2 and all wind, brass and percussion parts.
Duration 10 ½ minutes

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