RAVENSCROFT VARIATIONS is based upon the Carol 705 “Remember, O Thou Man” from the Melismata from 1611. The composer Thomas Ravenscroft (b. 1582 or 1592 – d. 1635) was an English musician, theorist and notable composer, unique in his time both writing music for church, court and temporal music for the ordinary man. Little is known of Ravenscroft`s early life. He probably sang in the choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral from 1594 to 1600, when a Thomas Raniscroft was listed on the choir rolls. He received his bachelor degree in 1605 from the Cambridge University. Ravenscroft’s principal contributions are his collections of folk music, including catches, rounds, street cries, vendor songs, freeman’s songs and other anonymous music. As the title implies the piece is a set of variations which falls in a direct order after the opening Fanfare and the presentation of the Theme (Carol 705). The theme is presented in a unsolved and hesitating manner leading us into the variations. Each of the six variations has their own character and style and sometimes small motives from other variations occur. Note to performers: all tempo markings are free, but within the intentions of the music. Octaves in basses (and some bars in bass trombone) are ad lib.
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