Thursday, 18 November 2010

Talking about the Highgrove Suite

Tomorrow (Friday) I'm going to Lincolnshire to talk about the Highgrove Suite at Edenham Regional House (my brother's vicarage). I'm really looking forward to it because the people who attend are such wonderful, grounded people and it's a real pleasure to share my experiences with them. And then on Sunday morning I am in Manchester to talk with Aled on his Good Morning Sunday show. He'll be playing bits of the Highgrove Suite.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Towards the Light

Today sees the re-release of Towards the Light. This is the album I wrote for Classic FM during my time as resident composer. The new release is part of The Full Works Series and retails for around £6. It's great to know that it has a new life because a lot of people have been e mailing me about its lack of availabilty.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

No 3 in the Classical Charts

It was great to hear today that the Highgrove Suite CD is placed at No 3 in the Specialist Classical Charts. I'd like to thank everyone at Classic FM for their support - and also thanks to those who have bought the CD!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

A new Organ Concerto?

I spent yesterday in Rochester and met with my manager Paul and the cathedral organist Roger Sayer. It's Roger who plays the organ so magnificently on Song of Songs, and I'd love to write a new organ concerto for him. The cathedral itself is the perfect place with it's warm, bright and intimate nave and the mighty organ spanning the width of the chancel screen. If we can get a commissioner, this will be a major project for me in 2011.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

BBC Look East

Thanks to all those who’ve been in touch to say how much they enjoyed the BB2 Highgrove Documentary. And then - last night - there was a great piece on Look East about the Suite and the premiere. This media interest in the music has really helped to launch the CD sales! Finally people have got a chance to hear the full four movements rather than just snippets. If you do have a copy of the CD then I hope you enjoy....

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Back from Greece

I'm back from a marvellous two-week holiday in Crete and feel full of new ideas and creativity! It has been great to come back to so many positive comments about the BB2 Highgrove documentary. I have to congratulate the producer/director Charlie Clay on doing such a marvellous job. The visuals (and I hope the music!) are really beautiful. From Monday, the album of the Suite is CD of the Week on Classic FM and the pre sales on Amazon and on my own site are very encouraging.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

New Website/Song of Songs live performance

It's great to have my revised website up and running! The new layout makes it easier to navigate, and there is now more detail about the Highgrove Suite and also about live performances of Song of Songs. I love to support local amateur choirs so if you would like me to work with you towards a performance of Song of Songs, please click here.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Song of Songs at Marlborough

Last night, there was a performance of Song of Songs in Marlborough Chapel as part of the Summer School Concert Series. The Raven Quartet appeared, along with Claire Jones and the wonderful soprano Natalie Clifton-Griffiths. The choir was the Avebury Vocal Ensemble. I took a rehearsal of the choir on Monday evening and was really impressed with their warmth of tone and enthusiasm. As well as Song of Songs they performed Quanta Qualia, Reflexionem and a couple of my anthems accompanied by Roger Sayer on the mighty chapel organ. There must have been 500 or so in the audience and they gave us a fantastic reception. It was great to meet many of them afterwards.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Highgrove Suite News

It is now a month or so since the premiere of the Highgrove Suite. This took place in front of a private audience at Highgrove House and was without doubt the highlight of my career to date. The Philharmonia and Claire Jones played so beautifully and the setting was absolutely perfect. The day after the premiere we all transferred to the Henry Wood Hall in South London to make the recording. This too was a great success, and I am now in the middle of listening to all the edits before we do a final mix the week after next. The recording is to be released in the autumn on the Classic FM label. The build up to the premiere was filmed and is to form part of a BBC2 documentary about the Highgrove gardens. This too is expected to air in the autumn.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Highgrove Suite

I am delighted to announce that I have just completed The Highgrove Suite. There is still some orchestration to do but the four movements are all now in place. I wrote Goddess of the Woods for The Prince of Wales’ sixtieth birthday in November 2008. Now, this piece (inspired by The Stumpery of the Highgrove gardens) has been joined by The Wild Meadow, Sanctuary and The Gladiator. The premiere, which is to take place in June at Highgrove in front of a private audience, will be performed by the royal harpist Claire Jones and the string section of The Philharmonia. The occasion will be in aid of The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts. A London premiere will take place later this year.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Premiere of new piece for Horn and Piano

I am premiering a new piece this evening at a lovely church near Great Yarmouth. Martham church is one of those architectural jewels hidden away in an almost forgotten corner of England. Just a few miles from the coast, it stands strong and proud against the open skyline, and inside it is genuinely imposing yet thoroughly warm and welcoming. I am putting on a concert in aid of the church with my friend Linda Purdy. Linda plays the E flat horn beautifully and the instrument's mellow singing quality is just right to evoke the simple beauty of the Broadland area. The new piece is called Womack Water and we are playing it towards the end of the evening. Linda will play other ‘concert’ pieces and I am playing the Widor Toccata and some Handel on the organ.

Monday, 15 February 2010

‘After the Rain’ on A level Dance Syllabus

I have had many enquiries from A level dance students about my piece After the Rain. This piece which features on the album Fair Albion appears on the A level syllabus as one of the choreography questions. For the interest of those who are taking the exam (and other readers of this news page, of course) I wrote After the Rain about five years ago while living in a boathouse on the River Thames at Maidenhead. It was inspired first by the gentle rain falling on the murky water, and then by the feeling of 'freshness' and the beautiful sweet smell once the rain had stopped.

I am delighted that so many young people are finding my music an inspiration for the medium of dance - and I wish you all every success with your A level.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

New Commission for Lincoln Cathedral

I am thrilled to have a written a new piece for the choir of Lincoln Cathedral. I was commissioned to write a special anthem for the visit of The Archbishop of Canterbury to mark the centenary of the death of Bishop Edward King. This is to take place on Saturday March 6th. Entry to the occasion is by ticket only.

My brother Andrew provided the text. My Dearest Wish is based on the last letters from Edward King to the people of his diocese and the recurrent theme is ‘My dearest wish - be Christ-like Christians’. We are thinking of developing the same text into a hymn, using the melodic material from the anthem. I am really looking forward to being present on the 6th March and hearing Lincoln’s wonderful choir premiere the anthem with accompaniment from the mighty Father Willis organ.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Classic FM Hall of Fame

Classic FM's Hall of Fame is the biggest survey of its kind, asking people to vote for their three favourite pieces of Classical Music. I had the honour of being the highest new entry on two occasions, and my best known track Quanta Qualia did particularly well last year. It's well worth registering your three favourite Classical pieces and making your opinion count. Click here to visit the relevant page.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Ambassador for the Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts

I am deeply honoured to have been asked to become an ambassador for The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts. This charity carries out invaluable work in many areas of the arts - particularly music. Through the charity, I hope to reach out to underprivileged children and help them discover their creative abilities. I had the opportunity of witnessing one of the Foundation’s orchestral days last year which culminated in a concert at the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome. The atmosphere was electric, and I was reminded how much natural creative energy lies within young children. Somewhere out there are our future composers, poets, artists, architects and novelists, and it will be a great privilege and joy to be part of an organisation which aspires to discover them.