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Since my dear Mum passed away, at Easter, 2004, I haven’t really come up with anything new, as I have been busy with making various bespoke arrangements of some of my earlier pieces.
Rather than spend our first Christmas alone in the UK, this year dad and I (see picture) went to Sydney, Australia, for the festive season and new year, and, whilst it wasn’t my first trip down-under, we had a lovely time and were made to feel so very welcome.
Earlier this year, Nigel Wood, who runs Saxtet Publications, who publish my music for saxophone, asked me whether I’d like to write him a new piece to show off his latest ’toy’ - the Soprillo saxophone. He wanted something showy, but fun, and which would hopefully exploit the instrument’s capabilities. Perhaps because I had the idea of doing something with Waltzing Matilda, I set about writing an antipodean fantasy, Waltzing Soprillda. At the time, I felt that the top line could also be taken by the clarinet, and so I made an arrangement for this, too, and this is now also published by Saxtet Publications, and which should hopefully make a good concert encore!
The basic plan is something which has been done before, of course - taking a well-known popular, or folk tune, and presenting it as different composers might have done. The sections are pretty self-explanatory, and the tune is never very far away. The alla antipodean section is simply the tune upside down - or downunder, you might say. Just at the end, there’s a brief reference to Australia’s ’national anthem,’ as I’m sure, given time, and with subsequent generations, Australia will become a Republic in its own right.
This present version for viola is a natural enough transition, as the two instruments’ ranges sit quite comfortably together. Traditionally the viola seems rarely to get too much of the fun, and as my piece is decidely light-weight and humorous (hopefully!), I thought it could perhaps fill a gap in the viola-music market! I have had to make a few adjustments to the clarinet version, but, of course, the viola has provided the added bonus of using double and multiple stops, as well as arco and pizzicato. Melanie Brindle, a leading Plymouth viola player, and member of the Seamoor String Quartet, will hopefully be giving the work its first UK performance before too long!
The viola and clarinet versions aren’t, however, interchangeable, so if it’s the clarinet version you want, then I’m afraid the viola version won’t be suitable for your needs.––
As the clarinet version is now published separately (click [[http://www.saxtetpublications.com/catalogue/viewitem.php?id=266&|here]] for full details), I have removed this particular score from SibeliusMusic.