Variations (Andrew Lloyd Webber album)
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|Studio album by|
|Released||22 January 1978|
The Lloyd Webber brothers were always very close but their two different careers (a rock musical composer and a classical cellist) meant that a collaboration seemed unlikely. It was not until Julian beat his brother in a bet on a Leyton Orient football match that Andrew was forced to write his cello work.
As his subject, Andrew chose the theme of Paganini's 24th caprice and added 23 variations for cello and rock band. The work premiered at the 1977 Sydmonton Festival with rock band Colosseum II, featuring Gary Moore, Jon Hiseman and Don Airey being joined by Barbara Thompson (sax, flute), Rod Argent (piano, synthesizer, keyboards) and Julian Lloyd Webber (cello). It was subsequently rearranged and recorded in 1978. It reached Number 2 on the UK album charts.
The work was used in musical Song and Dance (1982) and David Cullen made an arrangement of the work for cello and orchestra. The opening and closing variations have been rewritten for cello and piano, the latter of which Julian often uses as an encore, due to its amusing glissando down to Bottom A (forcing a mid piece retune) to conclude.
The opening theme is used as the theme to The South Bank Show (1978–2010) and "Variation 5" became "Unexpected Song" with lyrics by Don Black. "Variation 18" is an instrumental version of the title song from the first Rice and Webber musical, The Likes of Us (2005). Also, the UK's children's program, The Book Tower (hosted by Doctor Who actor, Tom Baker) adopted a section of "Variation 19" for its theme tune.
In Lloyd Webber's adaptation of the film School of Rock (2003) to the West End, Dewey Finn and Ned Schneebly play Guitar Hero to the audience on an imaginary TV screen, and the Variations album is played. In addition, the chorus of the song Stick it to the Man is based on a note sequence from Variation 14.
- "Theme (Paganini Caprice in A minor No. 24) and Variations 1-4"
- "Variations 5 and 6"
- "Variation 7"
- "Variation 8"
- "Variation 9"
- "Variation 10"
- "Variations 11-15 (including the Tributes)"
- "Variation 16"
- "Variations 13-14 Varied" (listed as 14-15)
- "Variation 17"
- "Variation 18"
- "Variations 19, 20 and 5 Varied (listed as 6)"
- "Variations 21 and 22"
- "Variation 23"
- Original rock version
- Julian Lloyd Webber – cello
- Gary Moore – Gibson Les Paul, Rickenbacker electric 12 string & Fender Stratocaster electric guitars, Guild acoustic guitar
- Rod Argent – grand piano, synthesizers (Minimoog, Roland RS-202, Yamaha CS-80)
- Don Airey – grand piano, synthesizers (ARP Odyssey, Minimoog, Solina String Ensemble), Fender Rhodes electric piano
- Barbara Thompson – flute, alto flute, alto & tenor saxophone
- John Mole – Fender Precision Bass, Hayman fretless bass guitar
- Jon Hiseman – Arbiter Auto-Tune drums, Paiste cymbals & gongs, percussion
- with additional performers
- Andrew Lloyd Webber – synthesizer
- Dave Caddick – piano
- Bill Le Sage – vibraphone
- Herbie Flowers – bass
- Phil Collins – drums, percussion
- Orchestral version
- Eder, Bruce. "Andrew Lloyd Webber - Variations (1978) album review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
- officialcharts.com; retrieved 24-04-14
- Live performance "Introduction and Variations I - IV" by Julian Lloyd Webber on YouTube
- Andrew Lloyd Webber - Variations (1978) album review by Bruce Eder, credits & releases at AllMusic
- Andrew Lloyd Webber - Variations (1978) album releases & credits at Discogs.com
- Andrew Lloyd Webber - Variations (1978) album credits & user reviews at ProgArchives.com
- Andrew Lloyd Webber - Variations (1978) album to be listened as stream at Spotify.com
- James Ehnes: "Caprice No. 24 in A minor: Tema con variazioni, quasi presto" (written by Niccolò Paganini) to be listened as stream at Spotify.com
- Sarah Brightman - "Unexpected Song" to be listened as stream at Spotify.com