'Variations' (2019) is written differently to the usual formula of pieces of that title, in that the Theme does not appear until the very end of the piece. The Theme in question is a Pavane from the Orchésographie by 'Thoinot Arbeau' (Jehan Tabourot, 1519 - 1595). This ardent love song, 'Belle qui tiens ma vie', is well-known even today, but the meaning of the words is not the focus of the Variations. Instead, the four-part harmony is deconstructed in various ways to provide material which is, at times, unrecognisable in its relation to the original. The original percussion line – an integral Pavane component – is another facet of variation within the work.
The sections within the work – variations and theme transformations named in the score – run as follows:
Fanfare sur des Accords Thématiques – Fanfare on Thematic Chords
Thème Inversé Caché – Hidden inverted Theme
Thème Inversé – Inverted Theme
Thème Secret – Secret Theme
Thème Négatif (noir et blanc) – Negative Theme (black and white)
Thème Manquant (avec variation précédent) – Theme Missing (with previous variation)
Le Retour de la Fanfare – The fanfare returns
Thème Déconstruit – Deconstructed Theme
VarIation en Cycles – Variation in cycles
VarIation sur la Pédale – Variation over pedal
Et Enfin… – And finally…
Le Thème – The Theme
Tabea Squire began formal lessons on the violin at the age of six, and started regularly composing from the age of fourteen.
As a young adult, she was enthusiastically involved with youth music programmes, playing as a regular member of the Wellington Youth Sinfonietta, Wellington Youth Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra, New Zealand School of Music Orchestra, and the Adam Chamber Music Summer School. She completed her B.Mus with Honours in Performance violin at the NZSM in 2012.
Tabea attended the NZSO/Todd Corporation Young Composer Awards five times between 2006 and 2014. She was the winner of both the NZCT National Chamber Music Composition Competition and the Big Sing Composition Competition in 2006, and was selected as a finalist at the NZSM Composers' Competition every year between 2007 and 2011. Her orchestral work 'Ao' was accepted for the 2017 NZ Composer Sessions.
Tabea has had works commissioned by the New Zealand String Quartet, the Manawatu Sinfonia, the Wellington Chamber Orchestra in conjunction with the Recorders and Early Music Union, the IRMT branch of Wellington, the NZSQ in conjunction with the Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra of Beijing, and Toru Trio. She has had works performed in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, China, Europe, and Britain.
Recorded by RNZ Concert for the 2019 NZ Composer Sessions
Producer/Engineer: Graham Kennedy