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My Funny Valentine
As performed live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Commonwealth Radio; also recorded on CD by Bones Apart.
A glowing introduction opens the arrangement, leading into the hauntingly beautiful song. The parts blend in embracingly thick homogeny, over which the melody sings sweetly. Although the music is played at a slow tempo, the accompanying parts create a feeling of slow, gentle fluidity by their rhythmic and harmonic movements. After the first sounding of the theme, the tempo pushes forward into a smooth, jazzier section. The top part plays written-out lyrical jazz lines, flowing seamlessly over the rich chords of the subtly pulsating ensemble.
The feel and texture of the music changes several times during the course of the section, bringing with it the opportunity for different players to take the lead.
The tempo is once again shifted upwards and a highly charged groove section follows, over which the main theme is played energetically in duet by the top two parts. The "middle eight" section of the theme is subdued but soon grows expansively, leading into a powerful climax, projected in octaves, at the height of the theme. Any remaining tension is melted away by mellow, soft chords, bringing the arrangement to a timeless close.
"I bought My Funny Valentine on recommendation from some of my Trinity College of Music (London) friends and have really enjoyed working on it with the quartet at Cambridge University. Jazz always goes down well in our concerts but we find it difficult to find well arranged pieces that donít need a rhythm section to really come off. Richardís My Funny Valentine arrangement uses the instruments really well, going through a number of different moods and is satisfying to play and also listen to."
Dave Read, Cambridge University trombone ensemble, England, 2003