CONCORDIA SUITE

1. March
2. Lullaby
3. Waltz
4. Jig

 

YEAR: 2014

 

DURATION: 18′

 

INSTRUMENTATION: String Orchestra

 

SELECTED PERFORMANCES:
14 May 2015, St Peters Assembly Rooms, Hale, Altrincham
Academy St. Peter's

 

COMMISSION:

Commissioned to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Concordia Orchestra, Hazel Grove, Stockport.

 

NOTES: The Concordia Suite has interest for every part, with both melodic lines and counterpoint.  There are four contrasting movements:

  1. Soldiers march by.  They think they are fearsome, but appear to be toy, tin soldiers.

  2. I had long wanted to incorporate the beautiful Welsh melody Suo Gân into a work, and this was the one.

  3. A graceful waltz.

  4. Another Welsh tune, Wyres Megan, forms the basis of this lively jig.

 

 

SUITE FOR STRINGS No. 1

1. Allegretto
2. Lento tranquillo
3. Allegro

 

YEAR: 2008

 

DURATION: 12′

 

INSTRUMENTATION: String Orchestra

 

SELECTED PERFORMANCES:
24 September 2011, Cheadle Hulme and 25 September 2011, Marple Festival
Amaretti Chamber Orchestra

 

NOTES: This suite opens with a gentle, flowing melody in the first violins, which is extended and developed by the violas, then by cellos and bass.  The second movement grows from a darker, veiled melody in lower strings, capturing the drifting, looming quality of mist on the moors.  The work is rounded off with a lively, syncopated final movement. 

 

SUITE FOR STRINGS No. 2

1. Allegro Vivace
2. Andante più tranquillo
3. Vivace giocoso

 

YEAR: 2008

 

DURATION: 13′

 

INSTRUMENTATION: String Orchestra

 

SELECTED PERFORMANCES:
19 July 2014, Buxton Fringe Festival
Amaretti Chamber Orchestra

 

NOTES: A Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre production of The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, which featured a glass mobile, was the inspiration for the first movement of this suite.  The melodic fragments twirl through different harmonic colours, as the glass decorations refract different colours.  The second movement arose during a train journey from Manchester through the Welsh Marches to Cardiff, looking out at the countryside on a grey, overcast day.  The final movement plays with the image of ballet dancers leaping with bouncing balls.

SUITE FOR STRINGS No. 3

1. Con Brio
2. Largo cantabile
3. Allegro grazioso
4. Vivace

 

YEAR: 2010

 

DURATION: 24′

 

INSTRUMENTATION: String Orchestra

 

SELECTED PERFORMANCES:
9 March 2014,  Vale Royal Abbey, Northwich

Vale Royal String Orchestra

 

 

NOTES: The idea of opposition is explored in the first movement, using melodic and harmonic 2nds and 7ths, contradictory upper and lower strings, and contrasting first and second subjects.  The English folk song 'One night as I lay on my bed' (featured in the folk songs collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams) is used as the second subject, chosen for this suite as it highlights melodic 2nds and 7ths and has an unconventional phrase structure.

 

The second movement also explores melodic and harmonic 2nds and 7ths, but these are now yearning and sensual rather than oppositional.  Watch out for a couple of 'Finzi' moments!



The third movement uses a traditional 'minuet and trio' form.  A simple, graceful theme is used in the minuet. The trio section drops into Eb major and the texture is influenced by that key (traditionally used for the Welsh national anthem 'Hen Wlad fy Nhadau') and by Vaughan William's arrangement of the Welsh folk tune 'Rhosymedre'. 

 

The concluding movement is an exuberant jig.

 

TRUE PLAIN HEARTS for String Orchestra and Tenor

1. A Valediction: of Weeping
2. A Jet Ring Sent
3. The Computation
4. The Flea
5. Good Morrow

 

YEAR: 2019

 

DURATION: 24′

 

INSTRUMENTATION: String Orchestra and Tenor

 

SELECTED PERFORMANCES:
28 September 2019,  Cheadle Hulme

Amaretti Chamber Orchestra with Tim Kennedy

 

 

NOTES: True Plain Hearts is based on poetry by John Donne on the theme of love and relationships, from the grief of separation, a broken romance, an expectant seduction to the intensity of true love.

 

The first poem, A Valediction: of Weeping, expresses the grief of separation felt by the lovers on parting.  In A Jet Ring Sent, the woman has returned a jet ring that the poet once gave to her: he muses on it as a token of their broken romance.  The Computation describes the bewildering, interminable pain of separation felt by the poet.  In The Flea, the poet uses imagery of a flea to seduce his would-be lover.  The final poem, Good Morrow, expresses the intensity of true love.

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