c. 3 minutes
Premiere: 17 August 2016
CoMA Composers' Ensemble (workshop)
CoMA Summer School 2016
I went out to but some new shoes and came home with a new synth...
saxophone quartet and saxophone chorus
c. 7.5 minutes
Premiere: 20 November 2015
University of Southampton woodwind students
Turner Sims Concert Hall (Southampton) - Mozart Remixed Festival
2nd performance: 21 November 2015
University of Southampton woodwind students
St. Michael's Church (Southampton) - Mozart Remixed Festival
I - House
II - Thrash
III - Dub
Moz Pit is my response to the finale of Act I of Don Giovanni in which Mozart intersperses the action with three distinct dances. Using melodic material borrowed from the Mozart original I have reimagined this finale through the use of 21st-Century dance forms, namely house, the moshing which so often accompanies metal music, and dubstep. These movements are separated by two interludes scored for an additional saxophone chorus, the intention being that a group of amateur players may perform alongside an experienced quartet and contribute equally to the performance.
Moz Pit was composed in September 2015 for a performance at the University of Southampton as part of their ‘Mozart Remixed’ festival.
for flute, clarinet, violin, violoncello and piano
c. 6 minutes
Premiere: 5 May 2015
Cellule 133 (Brussels, Belgium)
UK Premiere: 11 May 2015
Turner Sims (Southampton)
This work collides perceptions of 'high' and 'low' art through two linked stimuli. The title refers to an American stock market index of the same name with the ticker symbol ^RUA. The music reflects the peaks and troughs of this industry, especially in light of recent financial climates. The second and more prominent source is a viral internet phenomenon which shares the same three-letter shorthand.
for improvising quartet
Premiere: 2nd December 2014
The Octagon: Cardiff University
Performed by the Oblique3 Chamber Players
for soprano saxophone, trombone and piano
c. 3 minutes
Premiere: 15 November 2014
'Birtwistle at 80'
New Hall, Cardiff
Performed by Cardiff University Contemporary Music Group Triumph Ensemble
Gustav Holst died in 1934.
Harrison Birtwistle was born in 1934.
Time is linear.
Time is cyclic.
for soprano saxophone, electric guitar, piano and drum kit
c. 6.5 minutes
Premiere: 8 July 2014
Cheltenham Music Festival (2014)
The Sanders Room, Cheltenham Ladies College
Performed by the Pop-Up Quartet
With love, anything is possible...
for string quartet
c. 16 minutes
Workshop performance: April 2014
I - Banana Scientists
II - Scorpy the Forest Friend
III - Suicide Train
IV - Puppy Wish
Inspired by the comic strips of Nicholas Gurewitch and the Perry Bible Fellowship, this string quartet presents four unfolding narratives linked by a reversal of fortune in the final frame. Discussing the contemporary relevance of this comic, Diablo Cody reflects:
'Enjoying this comic is never a passive experience. Breathtaking art aside, the observations on human behaviour are as provocative (and challenging) as they are hilarious. Those smiling round-headed dudes who serve as protagonists in many PBF strips seem scarily familiar - aren't we all just blank, tragic dumbasses who wish we had a puppy?'
Framed Misfortunes was composed in 2014 for a workshop performance by the Carducci Quartet.
for cello quartet
c. 3.5 minutes
Workshop performance: January 2014
The Boathouse Cello Choir (Florida, USA)
for flute, clarinet and piano
c. 1 minutes
Premiere: 4 December 2013
Cardiff University 'Britten 100' Celebration
Performed by the Cardon Ensemble
When asked for a one-minute variation on the Purcell theme that inspired The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, with the specific instruction to challenge the idea of a variation, I decided to vary the brief itself. Rather than a response to Britten directly, this short trio takes its stimulus from his successor as Britain's leading composer: Thomas Adés. National pride surrounds Britten's music, so I decided to base my work upon the more cynical patriotism of Adés' America: A Prophecy, alongside the pomp and circumstance of the originally intended stimulus.
Your Powers Are Weak was composed as part of Cardiff University's 'Britten 100' celebrations.
for occasional wind quintet
c. 8 minutes
Premiere: 20 March 2013
An Evening with Oblique3 and Friends
New Hall, Corbett Road
Performed by Le Quintette Pappilon
Workshop performance: December 2012
Performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales
This piece for 'occasional wind quintet' is an affectionate tribute to the great composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle. Humour has always played an important role in my music and I became fascinated by the way Birtwistle's blunt and uncompromising way of expressing himself often creates comic scenarios (to me at least) when juxtaposed against the formality and refinement of the 'classical' music scene.
The Steve Reich edition of a series of interviews produced by Boosey and Hawkes begins with the quote 'I think my decision to become a composer really happened at the age of fourteen when I heard for the first time The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky, and shortly thereafter the fifth Brandenberg Concerto by Johann Sebastian Bach'. In stark contrast, the Birtwistle edition of the same series opens with the composer giving us a tour of his garden and a series of fantastic quotes such as: 'do you want to see my tomatoes?... I've grown them from seed. Magic!', and 'this wall here, I built that. It's not bad is it'. It is almost a minute and a half into this three-minute feature before Birtwistle even mentions his music.
In Not Now Birty I have made a caricature of some of these traits. The quartet of flute, oboe, horn and bassoon move as a unit and progress in a reasonably logical manner, however, the clarinet (the instrument Birtwistle played in his youth) constantly antagonises the equilibrium and leads the others astray in terms of harmony, rhythm, structure, and timbre, always favouring harsher and more enigmatic soundworlds.
Some would argue there is a time and place to hear Birtwistle talk about his gardening techniques, and likewise, for a clarinet to scream over the top of an ensemble. Others would simply respond 'not now Birty'.