Gretchen on the rampartsGretchen’s lament

  • Instrumentation: Soprano with full orchestra
  • Text:  Goethe (in German)
  • Written: 1987
  • Audio

Sets the Shrine in the Ramparts scene from Faust Part 1.  Please be gentle: I was young.  As it is, I find its brand of neo-Mahlerian excess rather appealing.  I also apologise for the fact that I got a bit excited at one point and accidentally skipped a couple of lines of the text!

Emily BronteTwo Bronte songs

  • Instrumentation: Mezzo-soprano with string quartet
  • Text: Emily Bronte
  • Written: 1990
  • Audio

The first song hovers between the tonalities of E and F, the second starts in no-mans-land, but ends with an emphatic affirmation of E.  Given its first performance in 1992 by Liza Graham.

OpheliaThree Ophelia songs

  • Instrumentation: Soprano with piano and string quartet
  • Text: Shakespeare
  • Written: 2006
  • Score (with audio) (viewing / listening free; score available for purchase at $9.95)
A setting of the fragmentary songs that Ophelia sings in Hamlet.  I condensed them down to three songs which, in spite of the fragmentary origin, are massive and monolithic in style.

Septimus and AcmeA happy song

  • Instrumentation: Alto with full orchestra (also exists in version for alto with piano)
  • Text: Catullus (in Latin)
  • Dedicated to: Louise Cawte
  • Written: 2009
  • Audio

Written to prove that I don’t just do grim.  It’s a setting (in Latin) of a poem of Catullus about a pair of young lovers who go to extremes about saying how much they love each other, e.g. ‘If I betray you may I meet a hungry lion in Africa’.  This is the orchestral version.  It’s slightly over the top.  In a good way.

Emily BronteNo coward soul is mine

  • Instrumentation: Soprano with piano
  • Text: Emily Bronte
  • Written: 2010
  • Audio

Sets this poem by Emily Bronte.  Notable for having been written the wrong way round, so the piano part was written first and then the voice part fitted onto it.

Andrew MarvellThe fair singer

  • Instrumentation: Alto with piano
  • Text: Marvell
  • Written: 2010
  • Audio

Sets this poem by Andrew Marvell.  Notable for very tight thematic construction, and extreme variation in metre.

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