Wilfred Heaton – Air Varie “I will follow Thee” for cornet and piano
In May 1932 Young People’s Band Lad J. W. Heaton, aged 13, submitted an elaborate air varié cornet solo with piano accompaniment to the Head of The Salvation Army’s Music Department, Colonel Frederick Hawkes, with the view to publication. J. Wilfred Heaton submitted this spirited air varie in 1932Variations on Annie Laurie in 1938 for cornet and piano. The manuscript of the cornet solo remained at the SA music editorial department until it was taken away for safe keeping in the 1990s by composer and arranger Kevin Norbury who was working at Music Editorial at that time.
Wilfred Heaton (1918 – 2000) was a gifted young musician, equally skilled on piano and cornet. I will follow Thee follows the tried and tested variation style ‘operatic’ solo, with flamboyant introduction and decorative arietta preceding theme and four variations separated by interludes. Heaton composed from what he knew. Elaborate embellishments and technical tricks come straight out of the Arban, via Herbert Clarke, Percy Code and Erik Leidzén. The cornet part is exuberant and lyrical by turns. The accompaniment is well-judged in the background, but Heaton lets things really ‘go’in the interludes. One of them I recall from my SA days as the chorus – ‘In my heart there rings a melody’.
Grade 6 (soloist)
Duration: 8 mins
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