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Lyric Variations on "Slane"

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David Williams

David Williams

General Info

Year: 2014
Duration: c. 4:20
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: TRN Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $80.00   |   Score Only - $10.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Bassoon II (op. for contrabass clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Percussion, including:

  • Chimes
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tenor Drum
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Lyric Variations on “Slane” began as a piano piece composed for my wife Joyce in 1995. In the high summer of 2003, I was casting about for a slow movement for a three-movement piece for concert band that I was writing for a consortium of university and high school bands. I decided that the piano piece would transfer well to wind band. But the first movement of that piece turned out to work as a stand-alone, and Slane became a bit of an orphan. When Grant Cooper, the conductor of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, wanted to do one of my pieces when he conducted the West Virginia All-State Band in 2006, he chose Slane from a stack of scores I sent him.

Slane is an Irish folk song, The Banks of the Bann, but it was turned into a hymn tune in the 20th century. My setting starts with the theme in the woodwinds. The first variation is for the brass, warm with rich harmonies. An ethereal variation, led by solo flute, alto saxophone, and trumpet, follows with harmonies built in blocks by winds and brass which grow increasingly multifaceted, if never loud. The final variation leads off with glockenspiel, marimba, and chimes braced by tenor drum and a choir of flutes. A coda recalls the complex harmonies of the final variation before ending with a halo of flutes, clarinets, and mallet percussion.

-Program Note by composer.

Based on an Irish folk song known as “The Banks of the Bann, this work is structured as a theme with three variations. It begins marked “Slowly, like a lullaby.” The theme is initially scored in the woodwind choir. The first variation features the brass section, while the second variation highlights solo flute, alto saxophone and muted trumpet. The final variation begins with flute choir and a colorful mallet percussion section feature that eventually leads to a quiet coda. The percussion instrumentation requires a minimum of seven players, including timpani and three mallet players covering glockenspiel, marimba and chimes.

-Program Note from The Instrumentalist, May 2014

Dedicated to Joyce

-Program Note from score


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer


None discovered thus far.