Samples of Compositions

The following is a list of some of the compositions with which I have been involved. While some may have been mentioned elsewhere on the site, they are collected here for convenience.

School based projects:

Pupil workshops - often, in these sorts of projects I see my job as more of a referee who tries to ensure that all the pupils who have ideas have a chance to try them out. We put them into a sequence, and sometimes into layers. I try to encourage pupils to give thought to the shape of the music through the use of structure, dynamics and tempo, which will often help the outcome to have more coherence. Sometimes they may need help with finding a chordal harmony if the piece requires it. However, the detail of melodies, rhythms and metres (and lyrics when working on a song) is usually their own.

"Sunshine and Triceratops" - Reception and Year 1 pupils (aged 4-6 years) at Parker's School, Saham Toney, Norfolk, Summer 2007. The class had been studying, in parallel projects, dinosaurs and weather. The pupils decided they wanted to sing a song they had made up about the sun and have some stamping dinosaurs somewhere in the music. Listen

"Here Is A Suitcase" - Year 1 and 2 pupils (aged 6-7 years) at Parker's School, Saham Toney, Norfolk, Summer 2007. Being a sunny summer's day, the pupils (with some encouragement from the teacher!) were thinking forward to the coming holidays. They began chanting "Here is a suitcase, what shall we pack?" The instrumental sections were their musical interpretaitions of what was to go into the suitcase. Listen

"Freaky Friday " - Year 5 and 6 pupils (aged 10-11 years) at Parker's School, Saham Toney, Norfolk, Summer 2007. The pupils devised the music first and named it afterward. All they wanted to use as a starting point was the idea of making something that sounded strange and mysterious. Listen

"Voyager" - Year 7 pupils (aged 11-12 years) at Bretton Woods School, Peterborough, Summer 2007. This workshop took place following a DeeP Sound Show. The school was one of two due to merge into a single school and staff organised a series of activities mixing pupils from both schools in the run up to the amalgamation.This was one of them. Pupils came up with a spoken rhyme about, "Voyager, our new school" and used a variety of synthesisers to create a soundscape. Unusually for a DeeP Sound Show workshop some of the pupils particularly wanted to highlight acoustic percussion, in this case tabla, which several of them were learning from a visiting teacher. Listen

"Woodland" - Years 3 - 6 pupils (aged 7-11 years) at Walpole Cross Keys School, Norfolk , Summer 2007. It's interesting to have the time to develop work with groups of pupils over a series of visits. Normally I work with groups within a class, which is how this project started. However, owing to the aim to record some of this, the recordings had to be tackled away from the thrum of the class during the final couple of visits. This electro-acoustic project is described more fully here and you can find the music by clicking Listen

"Friendship" - Pupils aged 11-12 years) at L'Ecole de Puis de Calès, Millau (France) and Year 4-6 pupils at West Walton Primary School, Norfolk Autumn 2004. This was a completely different kind of composition. The project, one of Maggie Barwell's extraordinary and audacious plans, included a commission for me to work with both French and English pupils in their own schools to generate ideas, which I would then turn into a choral piece for the whole group to perform at concerts in Aveyron, France during an exchange visit in 2005. This section is the final part of a six minute piece and contains one of two themes contributed by the French pupils, "La terre est assez grande pour que tout le monde à partager". I wrote a counter melody in English, "The world is big enough for everyone to share" and juggled the bits into something singable, adding a simple piano accompaniment. This was a fascinating project allowing every opportunity for misunderstandings throughout, but the pupils and adults from West Walton, Terrington St John, Anthony Curton and Marshland St James Schools along with the pupils from Puis de Calès dealt with any number of challenges in their collective stride. This is a recording of the final section of the music recorded on a very hot summer day in a youth hostel adjacent to the River Tarn in Millau. David Hill is accompanying on piano. A bonus for me was that the timing of the project allowed me to visit the magnificent viaduct, before and after it was opened for traffic. Listen

 

Compositions for pupils - I enjoy writing words as well as music. This example is a song from the DeeP Sound Show. Since it's called "The Miracle of Hearing" it probably does not need further explanation. In the recording I sing with myself and play various synthesisers, guitars and percussion. Listen

Other examples:

Details of and extracts from some of my compositions for The News of the Victory here

Extracts from my compositions for Hoofbeat here