23 Sep Variants on a Mediæval Tune
Norman Dello Joio (1913-2008) is a composer who achieved wide popularity in the mid-20th century with a proliferation of essentially tonal, lyrical works. He wrote dozens of pieces each for chorus, orchestra, band, chamber groups,as well as scores for television and three operas. He studied composition at the Juilliard School in New York City and with Paul Hindemith at Yale University. Variants on a Mediæval Tune was his first composition for the wind band genre which has remained as one of the most often performed band literature works. “In dulci jubilo” is a melody which has been used by many composers, among them J.S. Bach, as the subject for a variety of musical works. Norman Dello Joio was inspired by it to compose a set of variations. They consist of a brief introduction, the theme, and five “variants” which send the mediaeval melody through five true metamorphoses, strongly contrasting in tempo and character, and utilizing the possibilities of the band to the highest degree. Although commissioned for and performed by the Duke University Band in 1963, this lovely work is still often found on band and wind symphony programs throughout the country.
Program Notes by Marcie Phelan