Variations on a Plainsong [Veni Creator Spiritus]
The second version for Ensemble:
The plainsong chant "Veni Creator Spiritus" that is such an important element in the Advent Carol Succession occupied much space in my creative imagination which I needed to work out with a fresh composition. I chose to compose a set of variations for solo clarinet, especially for Walter Brewster who so often and so generously plays my music in various ensembles. This original piece is for him, and he has performed it twice in St Mary's Church, each time from just in front of the altar. Walter's ability to hold an audience's attention with the sheer expressive power of his playing is awesome, and despite all of the other music performed on both the occasions that Walter performed the Variations, people were coming up to me in the street to describe the impact that his playing had on them.
I decided to set these variations instrumentally, expanding them a little bit here and there. This enabled me to flesh out some of the harmony that I heard in my head but which was probably not apparent in the original solo clarinet version. The end result is entirely different to the solo version, whilst retaining many elements [not least most of the structure].
There is a piano transcription of this set of Variations as well.