Casa loma variations
for concert band

Alex Eddington
Composition Date: 2010
Genre: Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Concert Band / Large Wind Ensembles


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Piccolo
  • 2 x Flute
  • 1 x Oboe
  • 3 x Clarinet
  • 1 x Bass clarinet
  • 1 x Bassoon
  • 4 x Saxophone
  • 2 x Horn
  • 3 x Trumpet
  • 3 x Trombone
  • 1 x Baritone/Euphonium
  • 1 x Tuba
  • 3 x Percussion
Instrumentation Set Number 2:
  • 1 x Band
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Programme Note:
I composed Casa Loma Variations for the University of Toronto Schools symphonic band, during a year when UTS was celebrating 100 years at the corner of Spadina and Bloor. Looking around for inspiration, my first thought was to look at what else was going on in 1910. As it turns out, one of my favourite buildings (and one visible from my current apartment) was under construction at that time - Casa Loma: the spectacular "house on the hill" built and then abandoned by Sir Henry Pellatt. One of Toronto's most conspicuous landmarks, it is full of architectural quirks that have fascinated me since childhood: an abandoned swimming pool, a tunnel, a secret passage to a hidden wine cellar, two towers in completely different styles, and an impossibly ornate stable. And it is just up Spadina Road - named after Sir Henry's neighbours - from UTS.
It also turned out that one of the most popular songs of the early 1910s was one I already loved. "Oh, What a Difference Since the Hydro Came" is a gem of Canadian parlour music, from an era before iPods, when sheet music and amateur home performance were how music was mass consumed. The song is a cheeky lamenting of the loss of secret places for romantic trysts in public parks after the installation of electric lights! And Casa Loma had many of Toronto's electric firsts, including an elevator and a telephone.
Casa Loma also has a marvellous 1920s Wurlitzer theater organ installed in its Great Hall. I pondered what it would sound like if the organ came to life, remembering music that used to be played within the walls of the house.
In this piece, the band evokes the Wurlitzer organ: all the colours of the reed and brass stops, the special effects (bells and mallets, bass drums and whistles) and most importantly the shimmering chords, pedal points and soaring sixteenths. The variations on the "Hydro Song" trace a winding path through the house, from the Great Hall where the organ resides, down Peacock Alley lined with Balinese wood and into the sunlit Conservatory (which brings Clue to my mind!), slipping through a secret passage to the echo chamber of the empty pool, through the tunnel to the stables and back, and finally up the elevator and out (via the open-topped Scottish Tower) onto the roof and into the Norman Tower: the highest part of the building, with a stunning view from the top of Spadina Hill to the city and Lake Ontario below.
Casa Loma Variations was premiered on April 24, 2010, with the composer conducting.

Premiere Information:
24/04/2010 University of Toronto Schools Toronto University of Toronto Schools symphonic band Conductor: Alex Eddington


  • Call Number:
  • MI 1800 E21ca
  • Genre:
  • Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Concert Band / Large Wind Ensembles
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • October 6, 2010
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (44 p.) ;
    44 Pages
    Height: 36 cm
    Width: 22 cm
    Parts page count: 119
    21 parts ([119] p.) ;
    Height: 28 cm
    Width: 22 cm
    44 Pages
    Height: 36 cm
    Width: 22 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • Concert band
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Casa Loma Variations for Concert Band: Score
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Casa loma variations for concert band by Alex Eddington (Score)
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Casa loma variations for concert band by Alex Eddington (Score and Parts)
Printed on demand
Casa Loma Variations for Concert Band: Score and Parts
Score and Parts
(downloadable PDF)
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