Friday, August 20, 2021

Andrew Lloyd Webber - Variations (1978)


Andrew Lloyd Webber - Variations (1978)


Tracklist front / back album covers

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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

Julian Lloyd Webber – cello

Lorin Maazel – conductor

London Philharmonic Orchestra




Variations is a classical and rock fusion album. The music was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and performed by his younger brother, the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber.

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 cover is based on the painting Frederick, Prince of Wales, and his sisters by Philip Mercier.

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