Solo and Duo Works

2016

Lone Wolf

solo piano

2016

Duration

c. 2.5 minutes

Performances

Premiere: 12 August 2016
Doncaster College Theatre (CoMA Summer School)
Michael Finnissy

Program Note

Lone Wolf was composed as the opening movement of a suite of short piano pieces for children. The set are all character pieces based on the book Malu's Wolf by Ruth Craig which I was reading whilst attending the Contemporary Music for All Summer School 2016.

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Oh Dio!

sonata for clarinet and percussion

2016

Duration

c. 16 minutes

Performances

Premiere: 7 July 2016
George Sleightholme (clarinet) & George Barton (percussion)
Club Inégales (London)

Program Note

Scored for clarinet and wooden percussion, this piece explores concepts of control and autonomy: 'whichever way it goes you see, you've got to decide' - Dario Fo, Accidental Death of an Anarchist.

Oh Dio! was composed as part of the Academy Inégales mentoring scheme and is dedicated to George and George who brought it to life. You can watch the premiere performance here..

2015

Lost Dead Toys

trombone and sampler

2015

Duration

c. 3 minutes

Performances

Premiere: 12 December 2015
Martin Humphries (trombone) & Andy Leung (electronics)
Club Inégales (London) - 'A Field Guide to Getting Lost'

Program Note

Composed in response to Rebecca Solnit's A Field Guide To Getting Lost and as part of the Academy Inégales mentoring scheme. The work was created in collaboration with electronic musician Andy Leung.

'In dreams, nothing is lost. Childhood homes, the dead, lost toys all appear with a vividness your waking mind could not achieve' – p 182.

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Lasso of Love

micro-concerto for hybrid drum kit

2015

Duration

c. 5 minutes

Performances

Workshop performance: June 2015
Håkon Stene

Program Note

Lasso of Love was composed in May 2015 for a workshop performance by Norwegian percussionist Håkon Stene. It is the third piece from 'Of Love and Other Musings', an on-going cycle of amplified concertos.

Secateurs of Love

micro concerto for electric cello

2015

Duration

c. 6 minutes

Performances

Premiere performance: 11 June 2015
Cardiff University Concert Hall
Samuel Warner (electric cello), Martin Humphries (electronics)

Program Note

For this commission I was given two pieces of information: the final gesture of the work, and the title Secateurs of Love. Usually when composing I begin with a stimulus from a different art form which leads me towards a title, however, in this instance I needed to work in reverse and derive stimulus from it.

I divided the word ‘secateurs’ into two parts which formed differing musical sections within the work: ‘sec’ (or secco, meaning dry) and ‘eur’ (which easily transformed into feurig meaning fiery). With a little research I found that the unused central letters (ATF) are commonly used in medical research as an abbreviation of the Anatomical Transfer Function – loosely speaking the way the ear responds to sound in different spaces.

Secateurs of Love is the second piece from ‘Of Love and Other Musings’, an on-going cycle of amplified concertos.

Cast

for solo harp

2015

Duration

variable

Performances

Premiere: 28 May 2015
National Museum of Wales
'Fragile' contemporary ceramics exhibition
Gwenllian Llyr (harp)

Program Note

Cast is a loop of discarded material.

To Quote A Friend

for solo cornet and piano

2015

Duration

c. 4.5 minutes

Performances

To be premiered by Benjamin Atkinson at the final recital of his undergraduate degree at Cardiff University.

Program Note

Composed as an air varié (a traditional format for brass band cornet solos), To Quote A Friend was commissioned by Benjamin Atkinson for the final recital of his undergraduate degree at Cardiff University. The 'air' upon which this set of variations is based is a quotation lifted from the musical compositions of the commissioner. I was introduced to Benjamin and his music through Steve, and the motif that consumes this piece can be heard across Benjamin's own musical output. Examples include Hwiangerdd Dewi (flugel horn: bar 25, beat 3), Sheeps For Sale (clarinet: bar 29, beat 2.5), and The Red Cockade (chorus soprano: act IV, bar 12, beat 4) - my composition grew from this starting point.

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2014

Put A Tiger In Your Ornate Garden Hedge Maze

concerto for solo tuba

2014

Duration

c. 1 minute

Performances

Currently unperformed

Program Note

This work for solo tuba offers a duality of emotions: confusion and fear of impending danger. Whilst the work is not strictly programmatic, the title suggests the confusion one might feel when lost in an ornate garden hedge maze, as well as the fear of impending danger one might feel if there were also a tiger nearby.

Put A Tiger In Your Ornate Garden Hedge Maze was composed in 2014 for Kenyon Wilson as part of the Vox Novus initiative 'Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame'.

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Concerto

2012

Etude No.1

for solo piano

2012

Duration

c. 4 minutes

Performances

Currently unperformed.

Program Note

This piano etude is devised to be playable by pianists of lower abilities. The image of the prepared piano is of great virtuosity and difficulty and this piece seeks to bring the beautiful timbres it can produce to an audience of more amateur pianists.

Etude No. 1 is written as a study and so it is very much driven by technique. It is divided into five sections. The first explores the percussive sounds available to a piano with closed key lid. A pencil eraser is used to hold down a D and thus it becomes the prominent resonance in this opening.

Once the lid has opened, similar rhythms are explored, leading to the presentation of the two chords from which all the material of the piece is derived. These chords become clusters as the col pugno takes over, are respelt and subjected to tremolo, and are later turned horizontal to form melodic cells.

Inside the piano lid the stacked seconds are reimagined. In this playground several contrasting sonorities are explored, before the piece becomes slower and stiller and finally grinds to a halt. Etude No. 1 ends as it began with a closed keyboard lid, accompanied by the densest, richest chord of the piece.

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Bucket of Love

concerto for amplified French horn and sound technician

2012

Duration

c. 14 minutes

Performances

Premiere: 1 May 2012
Cardiff University Chamber Concert Series 2011/12
Performed by the Cardiff University Contemporary Music Group
Horn: Jonathan Farey, Electronics Emyr Honeybun

Program Note

I - The Chasm
II - Fixation and Waltz
III - Destroyer of Men

Bucket of Love is ultimately a piece about the human condition. In much the same way Dante must overcome the nine circles of hell, here our horn soloist must endure the three distinct punishments of The Bucket. We begin with the horn player thrusting the mute into their horn, thus penetrating into the foreign, desolate soundworld of The Chasm. The music here conveys the baron wasteland that is The Bucket, with its wide-open spaces left in ruin by the countless wanderers who have met their doom within it.

Next we are shown the playful, teasing nature of The Bucket as it lures the unsuspecting, horn-playing prey towards its trap. It flirts with the soloist, forcing their melody to become a distorted Waltz from which the only escape is to look straight into the heart the predator. The Bucket's four-note motif becomes engraved on the mind and melodies of our horn-playing hero and try as they might, they cannot shake off the Fixation which has taken hold.

With all sense of reason and logic eradicated by the grotesque will of this Destroyer of Men, our protagonist is left to suffer the same fate of all who dare to enter the spiteful realm of The Bucket of Love.

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