Odyssey Variations


  • Composer: Norbury
  • Instrumentation: Brass Band
SKU: BWBB097 Category:


‘Odyssey’ Variations was composed as a result of a commission in May 2020 from Five Lakes Silver Band and its musical director, Christopher Ward. This music is based on an original theme that I first used in an earlier composition, Odyssey, which was the test piece for the European Brass Band Championships, held at Munich, Germany, in April 1999. I distinctly remember getting into my hotel room and turning on the television to be greeted by news coverage of the Columbine High School shooting, so that piece has always held some significance for me, though because of a very sad coincidence.

The melody was originally a cornet solo in the central slow section of Odyssey and pitched deliberately to test the soloist. I have, more recently attempted a straightforward choral setting of the melody, and the harmonies I use in the three chorale-style settings at the start of these variations are loosely based on that setting. The melody is a setting of the familiar words of Be Thou My Vision, an old Irish hymn, translated by Mary E. Byrne, and versified by Eleanor H. Hull.

The form of the work is as follows:

  1. Theme – three presentations
  2. Variation 1 – Allegro
  3. Variation 2 – Moderato (featuring the horns, baritones, euphoniums and basses)
  4. Variation 3 – Maestoso (featuring the cornets, flugel horn, and trombones)
  5. Variation 4 – Adagio
  6. Variation 5 – Allegretto
  7. Variation 6 – Largo – Moderato
  8. Variation 7 – Allegro molto
  9. Theme – Maestoso e sostenuto
  10. Finale – Allegro vivace – Adagio e allargando

Additional information

Weight 19 oz



Brass Band