It was early in the 1970s that we received this little note:
"I heard my comic variations the other day for the first time and liked them and have accordingly sent the enclosed. Will you publish it? I don't want any money. Yours sincerely Francis Baines"
At the time, as well as looking for good music for young players, we were looking for pieces that were fun to play. It was still the era of Hoffnung cartoons and Fritz Spiegl broadcasts - classical music fun was in the air.
We decided to push our luck even further and ask the famous cartoonist Bill Tidy whether he would illustrate the cover for us. He produced the above, accompanied by a very modest bill. "I'll charge you more when you're in Tin Pan Alley" he said.
Francis Baines (1917 - 1999)
Needless to say we did send him money, and the Comic Variations have been earning their keep, and making people laugh, ever since.
E4 Francis Baines - Comic Variations for clarinet & bassoon