Joel Veitch (1974 -- ) has his own Wikipedia page, so it is perhaps needless to mention here that he is a tremendously underrated British composer, humorist, performance artist, and publicist. His extraordinary gifts as a composer are best showcased in his songs for his band, Seven Seconds of Love, notably the unforgettable "One More or Ten".
The "theme" (if so calling it does not stretch the word past recognition) for this set of Variations is derived from this short video. For all I know, it may not even be an original work. It may be a nursery rhyme (it bears a suspicious resemblance to the American tune "Skip To My Lou). But I need someone to blame for it and Joel has placed himself squarely in the line of fire.
Regardless of its provenance, the tune is motivically protean and lends itself to almost infinite unpacking. I chose the medium of the classical string quartet for this purpose as creating maximal cognitive dissonance with the anarchic original setting. Regrettably as well as inexcusably, my audio rendering toolchain does not contain samples for exploding spongs.
There are some number of variations; the exact number is subject to some dispute, as no variation is numbered 13 and one of the variations does no more than namecheck the theme of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, another example of multum ex parvo (Latin: pulling nine pounds of sh1t out of a two-pound sack).
Obligatory fugue is obligatory.
Copyright © 2015 Frank Wilhoit