Divisions to a Ground (Greensleeves)

Phillip FALLE arr. JACKSON

 

Philip Falle (1656-1742) was an enthusiastic amateur player of the bass viol. He was also for some years a prebendary of Durham Cathedral and it was here that he compiled an important collection of music known as the Durham Viol manuscript.

Most of the pieces in the manuscript are copies of compositions by celebrated continental masters such as Marais and St Colombe Le Fils, but the book also contains a few of his own compositions, such as this set of variations (known at the time as "divisions") on that most famous of English tunes Greensleeves"

However, the well-known tune never actually occurs in Falle's Divisions as he is working, not from the melody, but from the ground bass which underpins it.

In Andy Jackson's arrangement, Falle's Divisions for solo viol are progressively layered on top of one another, creating a rich texture which is unmistakably English, unmistakably Greensleeves, but in which the instantly recognisable melody is largely absent, except for one fleeting moment on the piccolo.

Instrumentation: Flutes, Piccolo, 2 Oboes, 2 Bb Clarinets, Bass Clarinet (optional) 2 Bassoons, 4 Horns in F  (3 and 4 optional), 2 Trumpets in Bb, 2 Trombones (optional), Alto Saxophone (optional), Percussion (Timpani), Strings.

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