Written for Luke Carver Goss (accordion) and the Royal Northern Sinfonia, to be performed at the Sage Gateshead and released on NMC Recordings in January 2018, as part of Sound and Music’s Next Wave 2 scheme.
Zorthern is a piece where elements of folk music and classical music are placed alongside one another. Though each of the four countryside musics that make up the piece are imaginary, the piece uses material from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, as well as the traditional English ballad Scarborough Fair. Zorthern is a made-up word, and is pronounced like ‘northern’ but with a Z.
12′ – listen
For flute, clarinet, piano, violin, and cello.
First performed on the 13th of September 2017 by Michael Alampi (flute), James Gilbert (clarinet), Thomas Ang (piano), Andrew Xu (violin), and Sarah Gait (cello), at the Royal Academy of Music, London.
Verlernt consists of tributes to three composers. The first, Dmitri Smirnov, was my teacher between 2014 and 2015. The second movement is a tribute to Anton Webern, and the third is to Philip Herschkowitz, student of Webern and teacher to Smirnov. The pieces use musical cryptograms on each of their names as material.
In Feyre Foreste (2016)
7′ – listen (excerpt)
For sopranino recorder (solo), two alto recorders (both doubling soprano recorders), and two tenor recorders (both also doubling soprano recorders).
First performed on the 24th of January 2017 by Tabea Debus (solo), Olwen Foulkes, Kristina Greally, Oscar Gormley, and Katherine Jones at the Royal Academy of Music, London.
The title of In Feyre Foreste is taken from the first line of the 15th century ballad “Robin Hode and the Munke” (Robin Hood and the Monk):
In somer, when the shawes be sheyne,
And leves be large and long,
Hit is full mery in feyre foreste
To here the foulys song
The piece takes inspiration from this text, as well as from the aria “Hush, ye pretty warbling quire” from Handel’s “Acis and Galatea”, and from an extremely out of tune calliope that I heard being played from atop America’s oldest operating steamboat, the “Belle of Louisville”.
Commissioned by East London Music Group.
1936 tells the story of “The Battle of Cable Street”, a particularly turbulent episode in the history of East London. On October 4th of the titular year, a uniformed march through the East End was planned by Oswald Mosely, leader of the British Union of Fascists. In opposition were thousands of anti-fascists, who took to the streets to prevent the march from taking place. There was, however, never any real confrontation between the fascists and their opponents; an army of police prevented the two groups from ever clashing. However, those opposing Mosely ultimately prevented him from completing his march, in what is generally regarded as a historic victory against fascism. This piece of music was written for the occasion of the battle’s eightieth anniversary, but should not be seen as an attempt to cement the event into the distant past; the issues and tensions involved are just as pressing today as they were then.
7′ – listen (excerpt)
For large orchestra (220.127.116.11 – 18.104.22.168 – 2perc.harp – strings)
Awarded the Royal Academy of Music’s 2017 Eric Coates Prize.
Anyone who has ever taken a long train journey through the countryside may have observed the way different layers of the landscape move at different speeds. The bushes and shrubs closest to the us become a featureless blur, while hills and pylons in the distance move at a glacial pace. The trees, fields, houses, and all other things that pass us at a moderate pace, hold our attention the most. Unlike the blur of greenery, we are able to see them long enough to take them in, but unlike the more far off curiosities, they are moving quickly enough that we are in danger of missing an interesting sight if we do not devote some attention to them before they shift out of view. Movado is the Esperanto word for movement.
Five Inventions is a piece closely related to 1936: an East London Uprising, which was commissioned in 2016 by East London Music Group to commemorate the 80th anniversary of The Battle of Cable Street. However, rather than trying to tell a linear story as the earlier work did, this piece uses various songs and chants reportedly heard at The Battle as material to work with. These are ‘Solidarity Forever’ (movements 1, 2, 3, and 5), ‘The Internationale’ (movements 1 and 3), and ‘One, two, three four five, we want Mosley dead or alive’ (movement 4).
Die Nächte In Berlin (2017)
9′ – listen
For mezzo-soprano, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, trumpet, accordion, and double bass.
First performed on the 15th of June 2017 by Carolyn Holt (mezzo), Jonny Ford (saxophone), Thomas Smith (saxophone), Gwyn Owen (trumpet), Inigo Mikeleiz Berrade (accordion), and Gyunam Kim (double bass) at The Ditch, Shoreditch. The text was written by Raphaela Edelbauer.
When writing the music for this piece, I took the various sections of Raphaela Edelbauer’s text, and assigned them to a series of Burlesques and Waltzes. They are all very short, and sharply juxtaposed against the subtle melody of a Soprano Saxophone soloist, who opens the piece with a ghostly offstage prelude. As the piece progresses, the relationships set up between the singer, the four conducted instruments, and the Saxophone soloist, begin to break down, until finally the Mezzo-soprano is left singing on her own.
The Man Who Woke Up (2014)
30′ – listen (excerpt)
Opera in one act for four singers, optional chorus, and orchestra (22.214.171.124 – 2sax – 0.0.0.0 – 2perc.pno.cel/hpsd – strings)
First performed by Goldsmiths New Chamber Opera on the 16th of May 2015, conducted by Jules Cavalié, at Deptford Town Hall. The singers were James Schouten (The Man), Joseph Cryan (Owner), Natalie Millet (Woman), and Grace Libby (Whiskers).
In May 2016, it was performed three times at St. John NuLu Theater, Louisville, by Thompson Street Opera Company, conducted by Alex Enyart. The Singers were Preston Orr (The Man), Eric Schlossberg (Owner), Kristina Bachrach (Woman), and Emily Howes (Whiskers).
50′ – listen
Electroacoustic work, released on April 3rd 2015.