Here are recordings of some of the music I have written to date, some as part of my degree and Masters courses and some independently, including pieces for my ensemble Fiery Dragon Company. I have also written an opera called Make Room For Mummers which has received several performances and has been recorded. The Fiery Dragon Folk Opera Company website has a number of videos and audio excerpts from performances and the recording.
If you would like to perform any of these pieces then please contact me. Pieces can be revised for different instrumentation if that helps.
First up is a piece by my group Fiery Dragon Company. Recorded live at St John the Evangelist church in Bath on the 18th May 2018. Perfect View is a street in Bath halfway up one of the many hills surrounding Bath with, yes, a very fine view.
Lament for a Music Teacher
This is a lament for a music teacher who was a very good friend of mine who died too early. This recording is of Fiery Dragon Company playing the piece at a concert for Bath Folk Festival in August 2018.
Blossom on the Water
In June 2014 three members of the ensemble Plus Minus (playing clarinet, piano and violin) spent a day working with Bath Spa music students on their compositions and in the evening played a concert of the pieces. This piece was one of them and the recording comes from that concert.
The title reflects the dreamy tranquil mood which prevails through much of the piece. At the time it was composed the trees were in blossom and the petals were falling onto the river and floating gently downstream.
There are two major elements which form the core of this piece. One is a sequence of chords which are first heard as the piano introduction. The second is a gentle melody which is not immediately stated in full, but gradually emerges from phrases swapped around the instruments. However certain phrases led naturally to more forceful percussive sections with a very different mood, tempo and rhythm. These could be thought of as rain showers falling on the water, but really the music just wanted to go there. The return to familiar gentle material gives a nice sense of tranquillity and of coming home.
Adagio for String Quartet
In May 2015 the Kreutzer String Quartet gave this piece its premier performance in the concert hall of the Michael Tippett Centre, Bath Spa University. This recording comes from that concert.
More about the Kreutzers (Peter Sheppard Skaerved, Mihailo Tradafilovski, Morgan Goff and Neil Heyde) can be found on the website of their leader www.peter-sheppard-skaerved.com.
The Ellacombe Chimes are a system for playing church bells (normally swung to in order to sound by a team of ringers) by one person pulling a set of ropes. There is more about the system here. I was intrigued by the idea of using the Chimes as part of a small group of musicians and wrote several pieces which were performed at St Mary’s Church, Bitton in September 2016 and this is one of them. It takes its inspiration from minimalist music, which seems to lend itself to the Chimes. The musicians are Ruth Moss – flute, Masha Kaestner – piano, David Moss – violin and Sarah Quintin – Ellacombe Chimes.
This is a setting of the poem “Music” by Amy Lowell, which tells of a girl’s reaction to hearing beautiful flute music and then seeing the player. The musicians are Ruth Moss – flute, Masha Kaestner – piano and Kristina Takashina – soprano. Recorded by Mr Punch’s Studio in October 2016.
After composition this piece was realised using Logic Pro. It was composed for a collaboration with a dancer and had its first performance at Bath Spa University.
Another setting, this time of the poem by Siegfried Sassoon which he wrote shortly after the signing of the Armistice treaty which ended the First World War. The song is for unaccompanied female voice and is sung by me.
I wrote this piece in just one day when I attended Academy Inégales, a weekend course for composers and performers in July 2016 run by Club Inégales. Inégales is the French word for unequal and this seemed an appropriate name for a piece which depends on making equal things unequal.
The piece has 5 sections each consisting of a short phrase of melody where all the notes are shown as equal length. The conductor chooses which section should be played and which of the musicians should play it and the chosen section is repeated until the conductor indicates a change. The musicians have considerable freedom in how they each play the section, being able to vary the length of notes and tempo of the section, stop playing for short periods and even extend the section if they wish. Thus the piece allows for both structure and improvisation. Instruments include concertina, electric guitar, musical saw, taegum flute, pipa, kanum and bass clarinet as well as more conventional classical instrumentation.
Make Room For Mummers
My most complex work so far, an opera lasting 40 minutes with a cast of 7 and a band of 11 musicians. Based upon the St George’s Day mumming play by the Widcombe Mummers of Bath the opera has received several performances with two different casts and bands.
The second performance received a four-star (and very perceptive) review from Venue, the Bath and Bristol listings magazine:-
With its cast of characters including St George and a dragon (obviously!), King Bladud and Mrs Bladud, Bold Slasher the Turkish Knight and a doctor who raises patients from the dead, plus an excellent band, this was an amiable celebration of Englishness without xenophobia or pomposity: often funny, always musically pleasing, and occasionally quite moving. And, an innovation for opera, it even had choruses you could join in on.
A full cast CD recording has now been made and released by Mr Punch’s Studio. The opera has 5 movements plus a prologue and epilogue and you can hear the first movement below. As we start, King Bladud and his Queen set the scene, then the Princess is threatened by the Fiery Dragon.
For more information about the opera and the CD please see the web site of the Fiery Dragon Folk Opera Company.
Three Songs of the Morning
Here are three songs composed by me (both words and music) for singer with piano accompaniment, here performed by Kristina Takashina (soprano) and Joe Cook (piano) during a concert at the Michael Tippett Centre, Bath Spa University in May 2014. The recording was captured using a small field recorder but nevertheless the sound is good enough to enjoy both the songs and the performance.
Green Grows the Holly
This carol was composed by me using the words of Henry VIII. It is performed by the chamber choir of Bath Spa University.
A piece written for English concertina and piano. The concertina is played by me while the pianist is Alfie Pugh. Recorded live on 15th June 2011 at the Michael Tippett Centre, Bath Spa University.
This song was recorded some years back and expresses some of the love I feel for the violin. Here I am singing and playing concertina with Heather Brown on violin.