A Viking Farewell (2019) – Solo viola or solo violin – 3′40“
This piece was first performed by violinist Fenella Humphreys in a live broadcast over YouTube.
I wrote this piece after a holiday on the Isle of Arran; we had been to a museum and learnt about the Viking occupation of the island. The ‘farewell’ of the title sort of represents several goodbyes at once – partly, the piece feels to me a bit like funeral music for a sort of imagined Norse burial; secondly, it’s about places bearing the traces of people even after they’ve gone; and thirdly, writing the piece after returning home, it felt like a goodbye from me to the island.
Dream Fever (2019) – Bass Viol and Electronics – 5′
Joint winner of the 2019 National Centre for Early Music Young Composers Award. Composers were asked to write a fantasy for viol player Liam Byrne. The piece was broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s The Early Music Show on 24th November 2019.
My piece Dream Fever explores the unhealthier side of fantasy – that of delusion or hallucination. I wanted to exploit the electronics’ capacity to distort and replicate the sound of the viol in order to build a hallucinatory landscape in which the real viol plays against artificial versions of itself. A wash of layered viol lines builds up, followed by an aggressive tirade with lots of double stopping which gradually fixates around a pitch before eventually shattering in a noisy pizzicato, heavily altered by the electronics. This process happens three times as the music falls into and snaps out of a feverish sleep.
Geometric Triptych (2015) – Three miniatures for clarinet and piano
Kite (2’30’’) depicts the flight of a kite; the wind builds up through the beginning section with the clarinettist blowing unpitched ‘gusts’ until the kite has enough momentum to take to the air, bobbing around for a while before soaring off at the end.
Pentagon (1’30’’) is based around patterns of five – the pulse is in five, the phrases are built of five bars, and the harmony is based on perfect fifths.
The slight irregularities of pulse and harmonic shifts in Trapezium (1’40’’) are intended to represent the slanted ‘wonky’ look of a trapezium.