Odd Sympathies
pf (2009), 2'

org (2007), 2'

Two Scherzos
pf (2004-5), 11'

bn (2004), 4'
The Wanderer Boy
cl, va, pf (2013), 3'

Midsummer Mobile
2vn, va, vc (2013), 3'

Bells of Norwich
2 cl, 2 bn, 2 hn (2012), 2'

Piano Trio
vn, vc, pf (2010-11), 22'

cl, pf (2010), 14'

cl [E-flat, B-flat, bass], sax [sop, alto, ten, bar], pf, 11'

Two Nocturnes
cl, pf (2007), 4'

Smoked Eel’s Serenade
a sax, pf (2007), 3'

2 vn, pf (2006), 13'

Montezuma Suite
bn, pf (2005), 4'
Bridge of Sighs
solo vc, strings (2013), 6'

solo bn, orch (2013) 10'

Concerto for Alto Saxophone & Orchestra
a sax, orch (2006), 17'

Bright Cecilia
org, strings (2005), 12'
Though I Speak
SATB (2012), 8'

chorus (S), ensemble (2011), 11'

Etheldreda’s Song
m-sop, choir (ATB), hp (2010), 25'

I Was Glad (Psalm 122)
SATB, org (2008), 6'

Fisherman’s Carol
SATB, org (2007), 2'

children’s chorus, ensemble [fl, b-cl, ob, bn, perc, hp, 2 vn], (2007) 21’

Three Songs for Spring
SATB, fl, ob, cl, bn, hn, tbn (2006), 9'
White Shadow
m-sop, pf (2012), 15'

Six Songs to Orpheus
ten, pf (2011), 20'

Street Café in Verona
m-sop, pf (2010), 5'

Two Caliban Songs
bar, pf (2008), 4'

To A New Country
bar, pf (2006), 14'
Though I Speak for choir

St Paul’s famous letter to the Corinthians is a masterpiece of rhetoric, which contains many of the most resonant passages in all scripture. Arresting imagery brings his vision memorably to life, and his argument assumes overwhelming emotional force through the rhythmic momentum generated by (often threefold) repetition. However, despite his manifest verbal skill, Paul opens with a warning against eloquence without love.

In my setting of these words I have aimed to retain a sense of Paul’s words as speech. The tenors begin by taking on the role of an orator whose words gradually spread among the other voices. Two portions of text receive especially extended treatment. A passacaglia (based on a four-note descent) conveys love’s patience and long suffering; I liked both the older form of words, “Love suffers long” and the newer, “Love is patient” so I used both here. The idea of knowledge “in part” receives a fugal treatment in which the line is shared between the different vocal parts. Love’s paramount importance is enacted musically by magnifying the structural weight given to the word, “love” in the text, and, ultimately, by leaving behind spoken grammar to focus on repetition of this word, alone.
Midsummer Mobile for string quartet

This piece takes its inspiration (and title) from a poem by Sylvia Plath, in which a summer seaside is conjured through allusions to the paintings of Dufy, Seurat and Matisse and through musical metaphors. The phrases, “syncopate a sky”, “a feathered fugue of wings”, “a tremolo of turquoise”, “a tinsel pizzicato”, translate naturally into the palette of the string quartet. Each musical image is presented in turn, before interacting in constantly shifting ways with the others. This is intended to suggest Plath’s notion of a day ‘suspended’ like a Calder mobile in the mind, just as midsummer’s day hangs at the central point of the year. Midsummer Mobile was premiered on a sizzlingly hot day by the Benyounes Quartet at the 2013 King's Lynn Festival.
The Wanderer Boy for clarinet, viola and piano

Dedicated to my son, Lucian, this piece is based on a Norfolk folk tune, which I found in two versions, each in a different time signature. Under the influence of this metrical mischief the original melody travels gradually further from home...
White Shadow for mezzo soprano and piano

Don Paterson suggests that “versioning allows a poet to disown their own voice and try on another”. This is doubly true for the composer who enters imaginatively into the world of a text and tries to render it for another voice to sing.

These five songs set words from Paterson’s collection, The Eyes, inspired by, and, in most cases, based closely on poems by the Spanish poet, Antonio Machado. Machado’s work was haunted by the premature death of his young wife, Leonor, to whose memory many poems were addressed. However, the woman, addressed directly in the second song as Guiomar is Pilar Valderrama, with whom Machado had a secret affair later in life. In the first four poems set here, he celebrates the endurance of love, even as he contemplates the fragility and transience of beauty and happiness. Only in the third song, Nightingale, is the blissful present tense of an acacia-scented Spanish evening untroubled by intimations of future sadness. In the final song, thoughts turn to a meditation on the nature of an elusive God, who exists in a state of reciprocal creativity with his creature, man – a God who “thrives on the same spirit he exhales”.

The songs were written for Cerys Jones and premiered at Madingley Hall, Cambridge in January 2012.
Windflower for solo bassoon and orchestra

A windflower is one of the names given to the anemone nemorosa (other include wood anemone), and was a favourite sign of spring for Edward Elgar. It also became the name he gave to his close friend, confidante and correspondant, Alice Stuart Wortley, his muse for parts of the Violin Concerto (1910) and Second Symphony (1911) – these tunes are known as the ‘Windflower themes’.

My Windflower was composed as a companion piece to Elgar’s Romance, which dates from around the same time as the ‘Windflower pieces’ referred to above (1910). There are several allusions in my piece to the ‘Windflower themes’ from the first movement of Elgar’s Violin Concerto. In writing it, I was also inspired by the image of the small, bright flower, courageously weathering the storms of early spring. This is reflected in the way the music repeatedly seeks to return to the calm, contemplative atmosphere of the opening, despite being besieged by more turbulent passages.

The title also seems apt for a work in which the protagonist is a woodwind instrument: the bassoon’s continually evolving melodic line is the flower whose brief blossoming anchors the music’s contrasting moods. It is dedicated to my wife, Shelly who gave the first performance with the Somerset County Orchestra in June 2013.
Bridge of Sighs for solo cello and strings

I walk across the Bridge of Sighs on my way to work at StJohn’s College, Cambridge. It is a lovely place to stop and watch the punts and, I imagine, much more tranquil than the famous Venetian prison-bridge to which it is a 19th century tribute, the Ponte dei Sospiri. My piece pays homage to one of the greatest composers to work in Venice, Claudio Monteverdi. It uses a fragment from one of his madrigals - Piagne e sospira (She weeps and sighs) - to build a parallel musical structure, which aims to suggest not just the sighs, but also the gently flowing water as the punts - or gondolas - pass beneath.

Laura van der Heijden gave the world premiere with the European Union Chamber Orchestra and Hans-Peter Hoffmann at the 2013 King's Lynn Festival.
Odd Sympathies for piano

This piece is my contribution to Homage to Haydn, a set of six pieces commissioned by Matthew Schellhorn to commemorate the bicentenary of the composer's death. It explores material related to the famous theme from the slow movement of Haydn’s ‘The Clock’ Symphony, but without the ‘pendulum’ motion, which gives it its nickname. The title is a term coined by the inventor of the pendulum clock, Christian Huygens. I imagine the piece unfolding, perhaps, inside a stopped grandfather clock, whose long-silenced chime slowly reawakens. This chime is represented by a three-note chord – H(B), A, D – which is held, but not struck, and is gradually stirred into resonance by an improvisatory melody.
Prelude for organ

Loosely inspired by a poem by R S Thomas, this is a short, alternately gruff and lyrical birthday piece for Martin Ennis, which was premiered by him in the chapel of King's College, Cambridge.
Two Scherzos for piano

Written for Matthew Schellhorn, both scherzos relish the interplay of fiendish virtuosity with moments of lyrical calm. The ghost of Chopin (his 2nd Scherzo, in particular) haunts the piano writing and some of the material of the first scherzo.
Interlude for bassoon

Written for my wife, Shelly Organ, and premiered by her at the Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, this miniature gradually incorporates into its soliloquising an exploration of the contrapuntal possibilities of the bassoon.
Sonata for clarinet and piano

There is something about the physicality of the clarinet that suggests to me a conjuror, dancer, shaman, or perhaps a snake-charmer. With this in mind, the opening gesture of my sonata might be viewed as an invocation, from which the rest of the piece is summoned up, and to whose musical 'DNA' most of the subsequent material, however diverse in character, is related. The first movement is mostly concerned with the development of persistent, athletic figures that jump across wide spans. Its pensive conclusion, however, prepares for the much more introspective atmosphere of the second movement, which is a sort of passacaglia. The third movement grows from what might be described as a frantic cuckoo's call, underpinned by driving, repeated chords in the piano. This gives way to a more relaxed, if lop-sided waltz, introduced by the piano. The two ideas are first juxtaposed before merging with each other. The sonata was written for and premiered by Victoria Soames Samek.
ReedPlay for clarinet, saxophone and piano

A clarinettist and a saxophonist people a wordless drama with a cast of philosophers, lovers, dancers and grotesques, with the aid of three kinds of clarinet and four sorts of saxophone. Backdrop, lighting, cameos and links are supplied by the piano. The first performance took place in the Purcell Room, London, with Victoria Soames Samek (clarinets), Jeffery Wilson (saxophones) and the composer at the piano.
Partita for two violins and piano

Partita was commissioned by David Moxon, to celebrate his 60th birthday and 25 years as church organist in Otley, Yorkshire. It's not too far from Otley to Ilkley and, as it was almost certainly David who introduced me to the song, 'On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At', I took this tune as the starting point for this piece. A heavily disguised version, shared between the two violins begins the first movement, but sounds as if it has migrated well east of the West Riding - beyond Hull to Hungary perhaps.

Instead of writing a Baroque-inspired suite of dance movements in the manner of Bach's partitas, I composed a sequence with a sense of narrative like a series of diary entries or six short scenes in which the sane characters reappear in unfamiliar contexts. There is, however, a homage to Bach in the 5th movement, a badly behaved fugue in which each part has a slightly different idea about what the subject should be.
Montezuma Suite for bassoon and piano

Three brief honeymoon postcards from Costa Rica: Coconuts (and crickets), Blue Morpho and Monkey.
Six Songs to Orpheus for tenor and piano

This cycle of six songs sets texts by Auden, Owen, Keats, Blake, Hardy and Tennyson. It was commissioned with funds from Girton Town Charity for Andrew Kennedy to perform during the CRASSH Literary Britten conference at Girton College, Cambridge in September 2011 and it is dedicated to Andrew and Kate Kennedy.

My brief was to compose a cycle using poets set by Britten as a creative contribution to the conference’s focus on the relationship between the composer and his texts. My first decision was to exclude texts already set by Britten. Instead of trying to find a fresh perspective on texts that inspired him I wanted to give the poets whose words he set a chance to ‘answer back’ by giving voice to their observations on music, words and song. And rather than letting Britten breathe too heavily down the neck of my cycle, I thought it wiser and more interesting to make him part of the subject matter.

This conceit leads, at some points in the cycle, to the duo relationship between singer and pianist, being explicitly dramatised. This is evident in the first song, Orpheus, when I imagine the singer taking the role of Auden admiring the young Britten at the keyboard as he describes, “his moved hands/A little way from the birds...” This song offers a tender contemplation by the poet of the musician’s vulnerability, but there is, nevertheless, a tone of bemusement that hints at the difficulty in reconciling the worlds of words and music, which is developed further later in the cycle. It also sets up the idea of the pianist as an incarnation of Orpheus, connecting my cycle with innumerable other works that reinvent the original bard for their own purposes.

In the second and third songs, music is more a metaphorical than a physical presence. In Owen’s Song of Songs the poet asks his lover to “sing me”, but only with “your laugh”, “your speech”, “your sigh”, “your murmurous heart”. Actual singing, it is implied, is not want he is asking for. In the next song, Keats develops the notion that it is the many bards who “gild the lapses of time” who, through the weight of accumulated meaning, make of nature’s sounds “pleasing music, and not wild uproar”. In both of these texts, music appears to be capable of being idealised by the poet most readily when free from the complication of living, breathing musicians. They return to the scene in the fourth song, but as hideous parodies with the arrival of Blake’s satirical creations, Dr Clash and Signor Falalasole. Here, Orpheus the demi-god has degenerated into hack musicians who “sweep in the cash/Into their pursehole”. While this song is full of rage, in the fifth song, the singer/poet is resigned as he watches two girls play a harp and a viol “without passion” and oblivious to the associations evoked by the music they play.

After this deterioration in the relationship between poet and musician, the final song suggests redemptive possibilities. It explores the potent verbal music of the formula, “far-far-away”, and, by doing so, demonstrates the capacity for words to become a sort of music that is able, like music, to conjure memory and emotion beyond any literal meaning. Ending with a final address, this time, not to music or musician, but to “dying words”, the poet asks of them, “can Music make you live/Far-far-away?”
Street Café in Verona for mezzo soprano and piano

The Italian sun illuminates a rain-drenched city square in this setting of a poem by Kate Kennedy, first performed by Susannah Self and the composer in Hindringham, Norfolk.
Two Caliban Songs for baritone and piano

These Shakespeare settings were first performed by Laurie Martin and the composer at Bedford School. The first is a curse - "All the infections that the sun sucks up/ From bogs, fens, flats on Prosper fall..."; the second the famous speech, "Be not afear'd. The isle is full of noises...".
To A New Country for baritone and piano

Five settings of Edward Thomas, which were awarded an Honourable Mention in the 2006 Frederic Mompou International Composition Competition. They are: I. Cock-Crow; II. The Hollow Wood; III. Over the Hills; IV. The Unknown Bird; V. Lights Out.
Skylark for chorus and ensemble

In his Ode to a Skylark, Shelley expresses his delight in the bird’s soaring song, wonders what it is that inspires it, and contrasts it’s seemingly unfettered joy with humanity, whose “sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought”. It is a poem about intense listening and the piece that I have written is as much about listening to fellow performers as it is about making sound oneself. It was commissioned by Uppingham School for 4th form scholars to perform.

Between extracts from Shelley’s poem I have interpolated a short lyric by Emily Dickinson, which ironically suggests that if you “split the lark” you will “find the music”. Although Dickinson suggests that skylark song is a beauty best experienced whole, much of the musical material for the piece comes from fragments of skylark recordings which have been slowed down to ‘human speed’ (about six times slower than the original!). I found this a fascinating process, which revealed that what impresses initially as a piercing cascade of high-pitched sound, is, when slowed down, a piece of melody that makes abundant musical sense. Using slowed down birdsong also meant that I could devise skylark material for instruments not usually associated with the stratosphere such as the cello and the tuba, as well as the more likely flutes and violins! Each instrumental and vocal part has been written especially for the performer, several of whom move between different instruments.
When Shelley wrote his poem, skylarks would have been a much more common, though hardly less extraordinary feature of rural life than they are now. I had never seen a real lark, until during the composition of the piece I witnessed, quite unexpectedly, while walking at Snape in Suffolk, a small bird shoot up into the sky, singing brilliantly, until completely out of sight, but still unbelievably loud; and I felt, with Shelley, that if one could, by listening to it, learn half its gladness,

Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.
Etheldreda's Song for mezzo soprano, choir and harp

This dramatic cantata was premiered in the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral by Susannah Self (mezzo-soprano), Tanya Houghton (harp) and the men of Ely Cathedral Choir conducted by the composer. It juxtaposes the saint's account of miraculous events in her life as imagined in the composer's own words with Latin words taken from the inscription on her desecrated shrine and an excerpt from a hymn in her honour by the Venerable Bede. We first encounter Etheldreda on the eve of her return to Ely, planting her staff in the fen soil and waking to see it transformed into a great ash tree. The story then moves back to her pursuit by her second husband, Egfrith, to the Northumberland coast and her rescue by a prolonged high tide. Finally, we move to her reflection on the vow that shaped her life.
Shepherds for children's chorus and ensemble

First performed by pupils at Bedford Preparatory School during Advent 2007, this dramatic cantata is based on one of the York miracle plays and traces the story of Christ's Nativity from the perspective of the shepherds.
Three Songs for Spring for choir, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and trombone

These settings of Emily Dickinson were made to mark the opening (on a bright, but frosty March morning) of Bedford School's new music school by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.