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selected Solo works

But When I Sleep (1987) for solo viola

But When I Sleep is a response to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 43:

When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,

For all the day they view things unrespected.

But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee….

 

As the sonnet is full of antitheses [opposites], I have used pairs of intervals to mimic this device. The viola is muted throughout this very short piece.

Variations (1987) for solo piano

These Variations are based on the concept of Beethoven's 32 variations in C Minor. In Beethoven's work, all the variations are eight bars long, without any changes of tempi or time signature. Each variation is complete in itself, but the variations are carefully grouped and juxtaposed to have a cumulative effect. His individual varations are always very clearly connected with the original theme, both melodically and harmonically. Rather than occupying himself solely with decoration of the original melody, Beethoven's concern was with piano figuration and technique. 

Solo, from the Judas Tree (1993) for solo steel pan

 

The Judas Tree, which was commissioned by the Royal Opera House for Sir Kenneth MacMillan and the Royal Ballet, was completed in July 1991 and was first performed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in March 1992. 

The music for this Solo incorporates the main solo for steel pan form the score (Variation 5), as well as including the rearranging material form different parts of the piece, notably the large slow section. 

I am greatly indebted to Simon Limbrick, who gave me much invaluable help and advice in preparing not only the original material, but also this Solo, which he persuaded me to write. 

Solo was first performed by Simon Limbrick at Darlington School of Music in August 1993. 

Birds Practise Songs in Dreams (2002) for solo clarinet

In October 2000, The Times reported a study undertaken at the University of Chicago and published in the American journal Science by Professor Daniel Margoliash, which revealed that birds practice their songs by singing in their dreams. According to the research, the brain activity of sleeping zebra finches followed a pattern similar to that created by the birds when they were singing while awake. During each dream, there were even slight changes in the patterns, as though the birds were developing variations of their original material at faster and slower speeds. The Times quoted Professor Margoliash as saying "From our data we suspect the songbird dreams of singing. The zebra finch appears to store the neuronal firing pattern of song production during the day and reads it out at night, rehearsing the song, and perhaps, improvising variations." 

This piece takes these ideas as its inspiration and consists of an original statement followed by six variants, in which the clarinet plays with the material, stating it in constantly evolving forms and at different tempos. 

Five Pieces for the right hand (1969) for solo piano

These five piano pieces were written in 1969. They were composed as an exercise in limitation and the decision to write for one hand only was a consequence of this. The five pieces together last about two and a half minutes. The first is the longest and the rest get progressively shorter: the fifth contains elements from the preceding four. 

Moto Perpetuo (1995) for solo piano.

Commissioned by Thaila Myers as part of SPECTRUM project with funds from The Arts Council of England, The Holst Foundation and The Britten-Pears Foundation.