REVIEW: ITEA JOURNAL VOLUME 39 NUMBER 2 (WINTER 2012)
Anthony O’Toole wrote Scarborough Variations for the Crimson Quartet, an ensemble made up of students attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania. It is comprised of seven variations on the well known folk song and has a running time of about five minutes.
The seven variations range from simplistic and melodic statements, a 6/8 march and even a quasi-funk section in 5/4. The lengths of the variations are quite different, and the tempi and styles contrast drastically from section to section. The ranges are: Euphonium I: c-b¹, Euphonium II: F-f#¹, Tuba I: C-d¹ and Tuba II: EE-d. With optional octave displacements, the second tuba range extends to CC.
Both treble and bass clef euphonium parts are included with the score and tuba parts. The music is very easy to read and any awkward page turns are avoided with some well placed rests. One issue with the piece is that the first four variations are labeled in the score and parts and the final three are not, although their locations are quite obvious. Most of Scarborough Variations could be performed by a quality high school quartet, but due to the b¹ in the first euphonium and the difficult fourth variation, it might be more suitable to a college level ensemble. Scarborough Variations would be a great addition to an ensemble concert or as a closer for a euphonium or tuba recital. --Dr. Jonathan Fowler, West Chester University of Pennsylvania