In the Anglican choral tradition, there are lots of interesting unaccompanied settings of the evening canticles, but very few interesting unaccompanied mass settings. This is my attempt to fill the gap. It was premiered in 2019 by the Clerkes of All Saints, directed by Chris Hamlett.
This piece sets fragments from two national epic poems of Finland. According to these poems, music — and specifically singing — is not just a form of artistic expression but also a kind of creative magic.
I collaborated with John Morgan, another York-based composer, to put together a set of English carols for the Micklegate Singers in York, UK. The other pieces were arrangements; this was my only original contribution.
This set of songs for upper voices and guitar, based on Tolkien poems, was first performed by the Larks quartet in Northampton. I originally composed it as a present for a friend.
I composed two settings of texts by Cornish poet Maureen Jackett (my grandmother-in-law). ‘The freedom of Cornwall’ won the 2015 prize for composition at the Cornish Gorsedd.
These had their first outing at Gloucester cathedral on Trinity Sunday, 2015.
The Micklegate Singers is an amateur chamber choir, well known in the north of England, specialising in contemporary music and little-known older material. Their regular director is Nick Carter, but I was their Associate Conductor from about 2006 until 2015. This meant that I took rehearsals when their regular conductor was away, as well as directing their Christmas concert every year. I also took over as main conductor in 2012 when their regular director took an extended leave of absence, and led the choir on its first international exchange to Norway in 2013.
An upper-voice choir in Norwich, UK, is called ‘Libricini’ after the famous notebooks in which Leonardo da Vinci scribbled various sketches and ideas throughout his life. For the choir’s first tour (to the Yorkshire Dales in 2015), I set some of Leonardo’s scribblings to music.
The poem Philomela, by Richard Pomfret, describes what runs through the mind of an audience member during the fleeting moment after a musical performance ends, but before the applause begins. It was first performed in Oxford in 2010.
I have an excuse for this rather off-kilter piece: it was written to challenge the excellent ladies choir Libricini, and to take advantage of the unique architectural properties of the Octagon chapel in Norwich where they premiered it in 2013.
This is an overly sentimental song based on an overly sentimental poem. It was first performed in this form in York in December 2012, though the music started life ten years earlier as a song for guitar and voice.
I wrote this short setting for a private funeral. It was originally for three voices (STB), but I prefer this four-part adaptation.
The words of the Irish Blessing have had strong emotional value for me ever since I sang a simple setting in my formative years as a teenager in the Halifax Young Singers. I wrote this even simpler setting of my own for a York-based community choir, Soon Amore, sometime in the late 2000s.
This was a commission for a wedding.