Forces: Piano duet
Piano duet for fake conjoined twins, commissioned by Matthew Lee Knowles and Vicki Hoodless. The pianists are joined at the inner wrist. The first movement is an homage to Chico Marx, the second is a romantic arrangement of mexican wrestling movie soundtracks.
It was premiered at TRANSIT Festival, Belgium, 2013, by Ian Pace and Frederik Croene.
Written for Notations 2008, at The Slade.
A duet based on the work of Alfred Jarry. The fencer attempts to gain a 'strike' on the cellists instrument with his bow (foil), whilst using a sieve as a face-guard.
Verscharfte Vernehmung/Cowboy George (2008)
Forces: Bb clarinet, doubling bass clarinet/Voice-actor
Commissioned by Ah! you sitting, comfortably, Vicky Wright and Peter Willcock. First performed at The National Portrait Gallery. The clarinetist plays the part of a detainee, while the vocalist/actor plays George Bush. Various 'stress positions' are re-enacted; roles are reversed, Bush is turned into a barking dog and resorts to clicking his heels in a vain effort to return home.
The score consists of a notated part for the clarinetist, and a faux classified 'counter-resistance techniques' manual for the actor (excerpts, left)
Ah! you sitting, comfortably, performing at The National Portrait Gallery, 2008
10! Sock! (2008)
Forces: Keyboard/Performer with sock puppet/Voice of sock puppet
Commissioned by The Calculators, and premiered at the Borealis Festival, Norway. 'Sock' is a hand puppet obsessed with the number 10, so much so he has a penchant for groin rubbing. The piece is basically Sesame Street on MDMA.
The score consists of a notated keyboard part and a comic score for sock and performer (excerpts, left)
The score was exhibited in the Birmingham Library as part of Frontiers Festival, 2014.
(click on image to enlarge gallery)
Forces: Electric guitar/Double bass/'cello
An improvised bebop-inspired mess, first performed at Boat-ing. The cellist plays a sped up version of Giant Steps whilst the guitar and bass play a tempo stretching bop shred, interspersed with orgasmic hyperventilation.
L'Exorcisme du Mômo (2008)
Forces: Piano, doubling pipe organ/Bb clarinet, doubling bass clarinet, voice,
An exorcism in four parts, written for Libra Duo, Mark Knoop and Carl Rosman. Based closely on Antonin Artaud's radio play Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu. The musical material includes distortions of Bach, including an inversion of his Canon a 2, per tonos (neverending canon). Most of the clarinet part is graphic, playing directly from Artaud's own drawings.
Premiered at Schott recital room, 2010.
""They Always Always Pick On Me"" aka 'Skit' (2009)
A musical skit for clown and keyboard player, commissioned by Borealis Festival, Norway. The clown wears boxing gloves and proceeds to beat himself up in-between recitations of an arrangement of Harry Von Tilzer's They Always Pick On Me, with keyboard accompaniment. The clown sings in the voice of both Al Jolson and Betty Boop. The final refrain includes a pre-recorded keyboard part, allowing the keyboardist to blow a party-blower in the face of the clown who now stands silent with blood dripping from his mouth.
Soho Strip (2009)
Forces: 2x Electric guitar/Bass/Snare and hi-hat/Saxophone/'cello/beat-boxer/Fiona Bevan's lingerie
Written for an ARCO performance at Soho Bar. The 'band' play a typical funk/porn soundtrack, while the cellist strips the 'cello of it's lingerie, one piece at a time. Once fully exposed, the cellist performs the British National Anthem.
The Star Sapphire (2009)
Forces: Adept/6x violin/Double bass/Electric guitar/Live electronics/Voice
A musical/performance based interpretation of Aleister Crowley's Star Sapphire ritual, Liber XXXVI. Performed by ARCO in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 2009 as part of The Process. Performed with the permission of the O.T.O
Six violins are spaced out in the shape of the Hexagram with a microphone 'Rood' (picking up the unique resonation of the Trade Union Palace's 'Yoni' ceiling dome) and a 5-string guitar in the centre of the group.
Facing each of the violinists is a mirror; each player must imitate the movements within the mirror to the right of them (therefore imitating the reflection of the player to their right), but they must imitate in inversion, therefore if the gestures within the reflection are 'DOWN bowing whilst moving UP the fingerboard', the performer must 'UP bow whilst moving DOWN the fingerboard'. The performance progresses in a clockwise direction (Invoking) until the next phase has begun at which point it reverses (Banishing).
The guitarist acts as Adept, triggering instrumentalists in the East (Double Bass), South (Violin 1), West (Electronic manipulation of the microphone 'Rood' in the centre), North (Violin 2) and eventually himself in the Centre.
All musical/physical gestures are based on those enacted when drawing the Hexagrams of both the Elements and the Planets, in both Invoking and Banishing forms. The musical score is made up of these diagrams.
Dumbshow - A stupid transcription of
Beethoven's Gross Fugue Opus 133 (2009)
Forces: Bass clarinet/'cello
Written for Heather Roche and Richard Thomas, for an ARCO performance at King's Place. The clarinet plays a stupid, condensed transcription of Beethoven's Gross Fugue Opus 133, while the cellist plays from images of Beethoven's early transcripts, until the final movement when he/she imitates the clarinet part by ear. Finally a pre-recorded version of the piece is faded in, and each player begins to mime each others parts. Not sure it works really, would have to try it again.
Piano Trio with clown (2009)
Commissioned by IXION ensemble and dedicated to Andrew Toovey.
This piece inhabits the psychological space between the first and second movements of Charles Ives' Piano Trio, it is therefore programmed with the first part of Ives' Trio as its opening movement.The stage is split in half by a dividing wall, with the clown's dressing room (clown alley) stage right and the ensemble's performance space (the big top) stage left. During the Ives' movement the clown remains stage right applying makeup.
Video documentation of the first performance will constitute the clown's score for future performances. This video should be imitated in regard to the clown's general stage movements, but performers are encouraged to interpret the clown's actions as they see fit and find their own clown persona.
During the Grock skit, it is indicated that a trombonist may play from the TromBone part (in the score). During performance the trombonist should be offstage and if possible, with a spotlight on him/her.The piece should have the texture and consistency of a rubber clown mask; elastic when stretched and having the ability to snap back into its original form.
Forces: Bb clarinet, doubling bass clarinet/Voice, doubling acoustic guitar, stylophone, typewriter, underground station tannoy recordings
Commissioned by Ah! you sitting, comfortably and premiered at the BMIC, Cutting-edge series. An a-morality tale about London, following the route of the No.11 bus. The musical material borrows extensively from traditional British folk music, and andrew Lloyd Webber, the text from old British folk tales.
Forces: Open score
Commissioned by CoMA with funds from the PRS for Music Foundation and subscribers to CoMA's commissioning scheme.
Dedicated to France Amann.
All musical material was taken from the introductions of several Jacques Brel songs and distorted via a series of processes.
The percussionist hammers tacks into the sole of a shoe throughout in reference to what Brel may have ended up doing had he taken a different direction early on in life.
The Ambassadors (2011)
Forces: fl, ob, cl, bsn, hn, tr, tb, p, vln, vla, vlc, db
Commissioned by Ensemble Reconsil, dedicated to Alexander Wagendristel. Premiered at the Arnold Schoenberg Centre, Austria, 2011.
Based on Hans Holbein’s painting (1533) of the same name, with close reference to John North’s book The Ambassadors’ Secret.
The piece consists of a score for 11 instruments and three independent parts for trombone, viola, and piano. The trombone and viola parts are graphic and require the performer to map their own musical route through a detail of the painting itself.
For every transition from section A to B, the conductor should move to the right of the ensemble during the ritardando, indicating a different viewpoint of the painting in which the anamorphic skull is revealed in its ‘recognisable’ dimensions.
The music represents the painting on multiple levels, and the performers should have the image of the painting in mind throughout performance in order to try and capture its general character.
Forces: String Quartet
Commissioned by Matthew Lee Knowles for the Stoke Newington Contemporary Music Festival, 2013.
A miniature based on a fragment of a string quartet by Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888) in the collection of the British Library.
O Willow, Willow ! (2013)
Forces: Soprano, Fl, vla, p
Commissioned by Ensemble Reconsil for the Austrian Cultural Forum, 2013.
An arrangement of the traditional English folk song, interwoven with traditional Austrian folk material.
Forces: String Quartet
An hommage to Mary Shelley's fictional character Victor Frankenstein and James Whale's 1931 film Frankenstein. The piece is made up of various 'limbs' from other compositions of my own which are then re-assembled in various ways alongside melodic material from the original film score.
Composed for the Arditti Quartet as part of Arditti Quartet Workshop: International Call for New Works for String Quartet 2014...IT WAS NOT CHOSEN, GODDAMIT!
15 Small Anatomic Stumps (2015)
Forces: Piano Trio
Commissioned by 840. Premiered by Katherine Tinker, Zoe Saubat and Ruben Zilberstein at St James' Church, Islington, 13/03/15.
Randomly picked slivers of musical meat stitched together into 15 small, possibly purposeless, independant stumps.