Variations (Andrew Lloyd Webber album)

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Variations album.jpg
Studio album by Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
Released 22 November 1978
Genre Classical crossover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]

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.[2]

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


The work was used in Song and Dance and David Cullen made an arrangement of the work for cello and orchestra. The opening and closing variations have been rewritten for cello and piano, the latter of which Julian often uses as an encore, due to its amusing glissando down to Bottom A (forcing a mid piece retune) to conclude.

The opening theme is used as the theme to The South Bank Show and "Variation 5" became "Unexpected Song" with lyrics by Don Black. "Variation 18" is an instrumental version of the title song from the first Rice and Webber musical, The Likes of Us. Also, the UK's children's program, The Book Tower (hosted by Dr. Who actor, Tom Baker) adopted a fleeting section of a Variation for its theme tune.

In the new (November 2016) adaptation by Andrew Lloyd Webber of the film 'School Of Rock' to a West End musical, Dewey and Ned play Guitar Hero to the audience on an imaginary TV screen, and variation 7 album is played, possibly only to be spotted by musical geeks. It is also used again quickly later in the play.

Track listing[edit]

  1. Introduction
  2. Theme (Paganini Caprice in A minor No. 24) and Variations 1-4
  3. Variations 5 and 6
  4. Variation 7
  5. Variation 8
  6. Variation 9
  7. Variation 10
  8. Variations 11-15 (including the Tributes)
  9. Variation 16
  10. Variations 13-14 Varied (listed as 14-15)
  11. Variation 17
  12. Variation 18
  13. Variations 19, 20 and 5 Varied (listed as 6)
  14. Variations 21 and 22
  15. Variation 23


Original rock version:

Orchestral version:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Variations - Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  2. ^; retrieved 24-04-14

External links[edit]