Compositions in Order of Category


Notes about the music may be seen when you click on the title. Works preceded by an * can be heard by accessing the SoundCloud page. Images on the covers of the scores of “Isaiah – Three Advent Carols”, “Rejoice! Rejoice!” and “Blessed is the Man who Finds Wisdom” shown here are by Jenny Allen and are her copyright.


The Nightingale And The Rose (1965; rev.1970; re-rev.1990) Opera in One Act (duration: 60 minutes)
The Nightingale And The Rose is one of Oscar Wilde’s Fairy Stories. I already knew and loved Oscar Wilde’s stories when it was announced that Malcolm Williamson’s opera “The Happy Prince” would be given its first performance at the1965 Farnham Festival in Farnham, my home town in Surrey. I attended the premiere, and when I returned home after the performance I immediately wrote the opening music. The music of the first scene of my Nightingale And The Rose is almost exactly the same as it was when I was 12. It took a long time to complete the entire opera, school obligations taking priority, but I pursued the task to the end, probably finishing the work in 1967. In 1970, I started a re-write of the whole piece. I was now 17 and I was able to approach the subject with greater understanding. The newly extended third and forth scenes had (and have) an emotional depth which I am still extremely proud of. The ending was always difficult to write. Oscar Wilde’s cynicism is hard to justify. It seems to take the focus of attention away from the Nightingale’s generous self-sacrifice to the Student’s final, angry, infantile outburst. I have always been most concerned about the Nightingale’s welfare. What becomes of her? Where does such-sacrifice take us? To rectify the balance caused by Wilde’s ending, I added to the final scene, in 2014, a “Requiem”, two or three minutes of contemplative music. I sometimes think that I may add an entirely new piece “in memoriam” as a kind of sequel to the opera. The plight of the real Nightingale in the real world is a serious issue, for the Nightingale is one of the species of conservation concern. I may mention here the website
Hansel & Gretel (1966) Songs for a Musical Play
While a schoolboy, I was writing a musical on the subject of Hansel & Gretel for a puppet-theatre which a group of us were going to present. I remember David Angel, Timothy Lowe and myself were involved. I had grown up in ignorance of American (nor any other kind of) Musicals. But Timothy Lowe introduced me to those by Rodgers & Hammerstein, and by Lerner & Loewe. I became an addict for this beautiful music and bought the complete vocal scores, learning how the dialogue and the music fitted together. I learned many of these works through the vocal scores rather than through recording or films! Hansel & Gretel was a chance to write my own Musical. The “book” was taken from a printed publication, and provided the words for the Witch’s song, but I cannot remember who wrote the book nor who published it. The score of my musical therefore awaits completion by integrating a proper script.
Luscinia Megarhynchos (1973) Music-Theatre for Soprano, Baritone & Chamber Ensemble (duration: 12 minutes)
This piece, with a title which is so unwieldy for a non-Greek speaking person, was partly influenced by Peter Maxwell Davies’s music-theatre pieces of the late 1960s, and written for the same combination of instruments as the Pierrot Lunaire Players who later became the Fires of London (flute, clarinet, violin, cello & piano, with soprano and the addition of a baritone). It is a setting of an anonymous 15th century Greek poem (translated by Constantine A Trypanis and published in the Penguin Book of Greek Verse), though in fact the soprano sings the poem in Greek while the Baritone sings a word for word translation.
The Musicians of Bremen (1977) a Musical Play with words by Fred Seyd
Fred and Mary Seyd were neighbours of my family in Grayshott, Surrey. One day, my mother was out shopping when she met Mary who mentioned that she and Fred were devising a puppet-musical based on the The Musicians of Bremen, Fred had written a script, and a composer was needed to write the score. Would I be interested? I took on the task and a demonstration performance was given to raise funds. Unfortunately, nothing further came of the project, but the remains of this piece are probably worth resuscitating.
The Star–Child (1979-1985; rev.2014) Opera in Three Acts (duration: 175 minutes)
The Star–Child, like my previous opera The Nightingale And The Rose is one of Oscar Wilde’s Fairy stories. To write the opera, I combined the story with Oscar Wilde’s The Young King as the protagonists were, to my purposes, the same. It was project that took me six years. I imagined the eponymous protagonist as a mythical extension of myself and, particularly in regard to the end of the second act, and exploration of myself. The opera was written without the belief that it would ever be performed (Harrison Birtwistle wrote The Mask of Orpheus with the same commitment) and after it was finally completed, I began to write music that I thought was more practical. I stopped seeking performances of The Star-Child. It took from the late 1980s until 2014 before I was ready to acknowledge that this is one of my proudest achievements. Unlike many settings of Oscar Wilde’s Fairy stories, this is by no means intended for children any more than Wagner’s mythical operas are for children.


Four Toasts (1966-2011) SATB Chorus & Piano (duration: 15 minutes)
Four Toasts started out as a collection of choral songs written when I was 13. Originally entitled “Mugs, Jugs, and Slugs” humorously by my father, that name stuck for many years. The movements were “an epitaph” which was round in the manner of Old Abram Brown by Benjamin Britten, and settings of anonymous poetry found on mugs, or were they jugs?, “The Hardy Sailor” and “The Farmers’ Toast”. Also was a setting of John Pudney’s “Slugs”. In 2011 the Eye Bach Choir, for whom I was the accompanist, asked me to write a composition dedicated to the memory of the founder of the choir’s late wife. The result was Four Toasts. I thoroughly revised the original piece by altering the opening epitaph and setting different words. I also developed and rewrote “The Farmers’ Toast” and interpolated a completely new “fifth” toast. There was great consternation in the choir because the words for “Slugs” by John Pudney were still copyright protected in 2011. Therefore, somebody in the choir rewrote the words which resulted in a piece for their performance called “Snails”. Two performances of Four Toasts, the premiere, and a performance a year later, were given with the words of “Snails”, but I disliked more and more these words. The perfect humour that had inspired the original song “Slugs” was missing, and so had the integrity. The situation was that permission had been granted for the setting of John Pudney’s words to be made, but that 50% of the performing rights should go to John Pudney’s copyright holders. This is preferable to me; so that the beauty of my setting of beautiful words should be maintained intact.
Psalm 13 (1978; rev.2011) Chorus & String Orchestra (duration: 12 minutes)
Psalm 13 is one of the Psalms seldom set to music. I believe there are settings by Schütz and by Schubert. The Psalms are beautiful and written from the personal view. These words suited my misery in 1978 and seemed to call out for expressive music. I made a setting which gave me the opportunity to have multi-textured voices. I wrote it just before embarking upon The Star Child and might be seen as a preparation for that massive endeavour. It is expressionist in the way I had learned from Peter Maxwell Davies’s music of the late 1960s and uses multi-textured string orchestra sounds such as I had revelled in when listening to Schostakovich’s 14th symphony.
*Final Parting (1995) Contralto, SATB Chorus & Orchestra (duration: 8 minutes)
Final Parting was composed in Summer 1995, and the full score is inscribed “to the memory of Svetlana Ilieva. It was written in response to a request from my friend Julie Rutherford that I might write some music in memoriam of her close friend, Svetlana Elieva, and suggested that I might use poems from Rilke’s Book of Hours. I suggested that Julie herself might write some words of her own, but she felt that she couldn’t do just justice to the feelings. That very day I sketched much of the music of “From Rilke’s Book of Hours” before Julie returned to me and said that she would like to express her thoughts in her own words, after all; and that is how Final Parting came to be written. The result was this piece for Mezzo-soprano, Choir, Cello and Orchestra. It can be played in a smaller instrumental version (Mezzo-soprano & Choir with Cello, Organ & Piano).

On Remembrance day 1996 The Little Motet Choir and Orchestra, with its conductor John Harmer-Smith performed Final Parting with Olga Hegedus playing the cello and Elizabeth Lane singing the solo voice. Jennifer Thorn (poet and violinist of “An Intake of Breath”) led the orchestra. Julie’s and my friend Susanna Wilson was leader of the cello section. You can listen to the piece by selecting the SoundCloud page of this website, in that performance.

Isaiah - Three Advent Carols (1998) SATB Chorus & Organ (duration: 15 minutes)

Isaiah – Three Advent Carols was written for my brother Christian and the choir of Little St Mary’s Church, Cambridge. I was asked to set the words of Chapter 35 of Isaiah from the Old Testament. At first, I could see no convincing way of setting the prose to music, and so I asked Jennifer Thorn, who had written the poem sung at the end of my piece An Intake of Breath, to adapt it into verse. She gave me the words, which I have made the first of these three carols. While I was waiting for Jenny to write the verses, I found and read the lovely words, spoken by the character Isaiah, that open ‘The Shearmen and Tailors’ Play’ (a Coventry Mystery Play, written probably between 1400 and 1425). This became the second carol. While composing these two settings, it became obvious to me how I should make the music for a setting of the original words in the Bible, and provide a group of pieces that made a satisfactory whole.

*Rejoice! Rejoice! (2010) SATB Chorus & Organ (duration: 2 minutes)
The note inside the printed score reads:

Rejoice! Rejoice! was written for the Jubilee Opera Chorus production (2010) of Beatrix Potter’s The Tailor of Gloucester. Benjamin Britten’s song The Birds was agreed as an ideal inspiration. It was to be sung at the moment Beatrix Potter describes, that in the old story “all the beasts can talk in the night between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the morning (though there are very few folk that can hear them, or know what it is that they say)”.

If you access the SoundCloud page on this website, you can hear the recording (made at the end of a day’s session by London Voices conducted by Ben Parry). Ben sent the result to me by email and I was amazed at the beauty of the performance. I had worked with London Voices and Ben Parry in 2012 on the Birmingham Opera production by Graham Vick of Stockhausen’s “Mittwoch” aus “Licht”. It was an extraordinary experience. The professionalism of the singers and the dedication, the patience and the lack of ego, was wonderful.

Requiem – additional music for The Nightingale And The Rose SATB Chorus, Harp & Strings (2014) (duration: 3 minutes)
See notes about The Nightingale And The Rose for a description of the genesis of this additional music.
Five Shelley Poems (2014) for SATB chorus, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Organ, Harp, Glockenspiel and Strings (duration: 15 minutes)
Five Shelley Poems is a work for SATB chorus and accompanied by 1 Flute, 1 Oboe, 1 Clarinet, 1 Bassoon, Organ, Harp, Glockenspiel and Strings. The five poems are: “Music, When Soft Voices Die”, “The Aziola”, “The Moon”, “Remorse”, “The Cold Earth Sleep Below”; and, finally, a repeat of the first poem “Music, When Soft Voices Die”. The work is framed by the repeated intonements of “Wisdom, Understanding” on two harmonically ambiguous chords in alternation with each other, giving the effect of wonder when faces by miracles.
Blessed is The Man Who Finds Wisdom (2014) for SATB & Organ (duration: 5 minutes)
Blessèd is the man who finds wisdom (words from Proverbs (chapter 3 verses 13-18) was written for Maggie Beale in memory of John Beale to be sung by the Orford Benefice Choir (of which he was a member). Maggie chose various words, including some by Shelley, but we settled on these. I asked Maggie whether we should change “man” in the title to “one”, and she replied “I don’t think so” as if to say there was no need to be too smart and modern. In reply to a solo female phrase, the anthem finishes with a tenor solo voice, representing John, for he was a tenor in the choir, and he may be said to have the last word, surrounded by a choir of angels.
In the Bleak Mid-Winter (2015) (poem by Christina Rosetti) for unaccompanied SSAA Chorus (duration: 5 minutes)
My intention was to write a piece of music for the group of female vocalists from Suffolk called “Seraphim”, whose director of music is Vetta Wise. Having begun several times to write cheerful music, I finally gave up trying to be likeable and took Christina Rosetti’s beautiful In the Bleak Mid-Winter with the idea of giving the words a bleakness and coldness which was not inherent in the two famous settings by Gustav Holst and Harold Darke. I had forgotten that Britten had approached the poem in his “A Boy is Born” though he did not set the entire poem as I intended to. It so happened that I made my setting from a book that left out the verse which starts “Enough for Him, whom Cherubim worship night and day, a breastful of milk and a mangerful of hay;” and so my own setting, neither, is complete. And so I wrote this setting with Seraphim in mind; but I had also made a decision to write music that they would probably find to difficult and would perhaps refuse to sing. I was surprised to discover that they took a great liking to this music and worked well to give a committed and brave performance in 2017.
The Artist (2015) (prose-poem by Oscar Wilde) for unaccompanied SATB Chorus (duration: 8 minutes)
The Artist is the first movement of a projected series of settings of Oscar Wilde’s six prose-poems. It may be performed on its own, though it would also be the prelude of an entire evening of the six prose-poems. I wrote it for accomplished singers.
Good Friday Music (Liturgical setting of the Seven Last Words of the Cross) (2015) for SATB Chorus & Organ (duration: the length of the service)

I wrote this setting of the Seven Last Words in the hope that Good Friday Services I had recently witnessed might be improved by thoughtful contemplative music and silences.

The Doer of Good (2016) (prose-poem by Oscar Wilde) for SATB Chorus and Orchestra (duration: 8 minutes)
The Doer of Good is the second movement of a projected series of settings of Oscar Wilde’s six prose-poems.
The Disciple (2017) (prose-poem by Oscar Wilde) for Tenor and Contralto soloists, SATB Chorus and Orchestra (duration: 8 minutes)
The Disciple is the third movement of a projected series of settings of Oscar Wilde’s six prose-poems.
The Master (2016) (prose-poem by Oscar Wilde) for SSAA Chorus and Orchestra (duration: 8 minutes)
The Master is the fourth movement of a projected series of settings of Oscar Wilde’s six prose-poems.
“For I will Create New Heavens and a New Earth” (2019) for SATB Chorus and Organ (duration: 7 minutes)

“For I will create new heavens and a new earth” was written, as a gift and a gesture of goodwill to the community, for Graeme Kay and Orford Church Choir, on the occasion of the Easter 2019 Dedication of the new Peter Collins organ. It is a setting of Isaiah 65: verses 17-25. Initially, I looked for words in praise of organs, and tinkered with words such as those from “The Holly and the Ivy” – ‘the playing of the merry organ, sweet singing in the choir’. I expressed, to my wife, my doubt that I had found any words to set. She did a little research and discovered that the proper reading for the day was Isaiah 65: verses 17-25. I was immediately inspired by the interesting words, and it wasn’t long before I had set them to music. I was already familiar with the literary style and prophetic voice of Isaiah. In 1999, I had set words from Isaiah 35 in my piece, “Isaiah – Three Advent Carols”.


Written under the influence of Mahler (1971) chamber concerto for small orchestra (1110 – 1110 - organ, piano, percussion & strings) (duration: 18 minutes)
I wrote this piece for chamber orchestra when I was 18 years old. I had left school for 2 years when I completed it in August 1971. Two major influences on my musical life had occurred. One being the music of Peter Maxwell Davies and Harrison Birtwistle, which I had discovered while attending their joint composition classes at the Dartington Summer Schools in 1969 and 1970. The other being the music of Gustav Mahler, whose music was still unappreciated by the general classical concert-going public on the colossal scale it is now. Performances and recordings at the time could only be achieved with the creative minds by the players and conductors. Perhaps, nowadays, the symphonies are sometimes trotted out much too easily, sadly! But I digress. I was so immersed in my musical discoveries that I chose the title “Written under the influence of Mahler” after a description I had made as to its contents, and I felt that this title was entirely apt at the time, 1971. Forty-six years later, while rediscovering the score, I have toyed with the idea of renaming it with the sensible title, Chamber Concerto (with 3 codas). But I feel something of the naïve creative joy I had would be lost in the more normal title. Although the structure of the music is probably naïve according to my development later, I am surprised at the thorough integrity of the original musical thoughts and the thoroughness with which I applied dynamic markings. The idea of 3 codas which conclude the work is perhaps original also, and not a gimmick. I find the pursuit of an ending an interesting one. To find 3 that follow on one after the other (they are not alternatives) is one I still find interesting. I had not yet discovered the music of Arnold Bax, who made Epilogues an integral part of his symphonic construction. It is interesting that the score was reviewed by both Peter Maxwell Davies and Harrison Birtwistle. I find it interesting that two experts could see things so differently. Max said that the most interesting part of the piece was at the beginning, and that I had shot my bolt and the piece lost its way after that. Harry on the other hand, said that the most interesting music was at the end! Knowing that nothing I wrote was as good as it should be. I bound the manuscript neatly into a binding with sellotape and staples and a cardboard cover with a typewritten title on the label, and then I put the piece in the proverbial bottom drawer until now, 2017, when I have printed it into Sibelius software. Another interesting man saw the score: Richard Rodney Bennett, with whom I was taking composition lessons for which I did not have to pay, as he would have to pay super-tax if he charged me, he said. RRB taught me how to be practical with my writing of scores.
*Symphony no.1 (1988) full orchestra (2222 – 2221 - harp, celesta, timpani, percussion & strings) (duration: 50 minutes)
Sir Charles MacKerras, who saw the full score of this Symphony, declared that he would be glad to perform it if asked, writing, “I find it most admirable”.

It is in 3 Movements. It is scored for the following instrumentation, though it was originally composed in 1987-8 for an orchestra comprising triple woodwind. It was revised finally in 2011. The revision included the reduction of wind and brass to double instead of triple, also the removal of an entire movement.

Here is a description of the musical substance.

The Opening Allegro (about 15 minutes) – The music starts in a lively 3/8 rhythm. It follows a classical model of sonata form until the end of a short exposition. This tautness of structure at the beginning allows the music to proceed adventurously over the ensuing period of 50 minutes without losing its way. The rest of the movement is more or less classical in design with recapitulation after a development which includes a slower section of music. The whole movement is therefore fast-slow-fast.

The Slow movement (about 15 minutes) – Q: How to continue from where the 1st movement had led? A: Continue as if emerging from a mirror image. The opening melody of the first movement which is also played at its final cadence, is played backwards to start the middle movement! This “slow” movement begins with the same speed and energy which finished the first movement but now we are in a 2/4 rhythm. So we may think we are listening to a scherzo. This scherzo music gives way after about 3 minutes to a minuet-like Allegretto. This wends its way towards a melodious section, which might unavoidably become known as “the theme” from Rutherford’s Symphony. This melodious section includes a “trio” section with a plaintive tune played by the cello. The return of the big melody evaporates after a climactic moment and the movement ends with a humble reflection of the Allegretto heard earlier. The whole movement is therefore Scherzo-Allegretto-Big Tune-Plaintive melody-Big Tune-Pause-Allegretto.

The Finale (about 20 minutes) – The Finale is a big movement starting slowly. 16 bars introduce a bassoon melody which is accompanied by a cantus firmus on an In Nomine of John Taverner (1495-1545), a procedure inspired by Peter Maxwell Davies. The 16 bars of introduction are a replacement of the original (scrapped) scherzo, and is music also used in my “Four Toasts”. This Adagio gradually gains momentum and eventually breaks into faster music in ¾ time. This faster music continues the ever-increasing excitement until a great climax is reached and a restoration of the original Adagio pulse is resumed. Little by little the emotional temperature becomes calmer until a playful Allegretto in 2/4 is heard. This Allegretto completes the adventure and the music evaporates into the distance.

You can listen to the entire symphony, in a digital realization by the composer using Sibelius software and Note-Performer, by accessing the SoundCloud page of this website.

Symphony no.2 (1995) full orchestra (2222 – 2221 - harp, celesta, organ, timpani, percussion & strings) (duration: 40 minutes)
My 2nd Symphony is a description of the year in astrological terms. It begins with Pisces, the Vernal (Spring) Equinox and also my birthday, and moves through the thirteen signs of the zodiac until it returns to Pisces. Yes, thirteen signs, not twelve. For I had read a book about Napoleon’s Book of Fate. It described thirteen signs of the zodiac, including the sign Venus. These signs marked the thirteen lunar months. By starting with Pisces, I would therefore have a piece that had Venus at the very centre of the work. To have a symphony with a central love movement appealed to me very much. I was apprehensive in writing for orchestra, and so the piece that I eventually wrote was for string quartet. I hope all remnants of this 1st string quartet have disappeared, for I took the wise decision to revise the work and extend it for symphony orchestra as was originally intended. It is in thirteen connected sections and is broadly symmetrical, the music beginning and ending very fast and suddenly, with a slow movement at the very heart of the work.
*From Rilke’s Book of Hours (1995) for String Orchestra (duration: 13 minutes)
You can listen to this piece in its orchestral version, by clicking here. From Rilke’s Book of Hours was originally written for Soprano, Cello & Piano, settings in German of six of Rilke’s poems on the subject of death. I think I must have had the voice of Elizabeth Schwartkopf as the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier in mind when I wrote it, as there are Straussian moments. My friend Julie Rutherford had requested that I write some music in memoriam of, and to help mourn, her close friend, Svetlana Elieva, and suggested that I might use poems from Rilke’s Book of Hours. I suggested that Julie herself might write some words of her own, but she felt that she couldn’t do just justice to the feelings. I immediately wrote much of the music before Julie returned to me and said that she would like to express her thoughts in her own words, after all. I said nothing about the work I had already done, and agreed to write her own piece which became “Final Parting”. The songs of this piece were performed, but I was not satisfied with my settings of the language and transformed the music into a string quartet. It has been performed by two different quartets in, I think, 1997 and 2005. But it has since then been revised again. It can also be performed by a string orchestra.
Accordion Concerto for Classical Accordion, Flute (or musical saw) & String Orchestra (2001) (duration: 45 minutes)
After writing “An Intake of Breath” in 1999 the musical-saw player, Harriet Longman, who was studying classical accordion with Owen Murray, asked me to write a concerto for him with a part for saw, which I did in 2001. James Crabb has heard the music and has expressed a desire to play it.

It is a large work in three movements. Scored originally for classical accordion, musical saw or flute, and string quartet, I re-scored the quartet for string orchestra and include double-basses. Flute is very much encouraged to take the secondary solo role. Sibelius spoke of his 5th symphony as having been dictated by heaven, the music having been thrown down to him in pieces of mosaic, and it was his task to put the pieces together. I know how he felt, for I feel that I wrote this concerto the same way. There were so many strands that were linked and I did not always know where they should go. There were tugs in so many ways. I somehow knew that there were three movements, but the 1st and last movements were cross-fertilising for many months. The first music to be written was the slow movement, originally as a duet for Accordion and Saw, without the added string (pedal) notes. Then the “latin-inspired” music (00:03’46” in the SOundCLoud recording) was written after I saw an advertisement announcing a guitar competition in Brazil.

You can listen to the entire concerto by accessing the SoundCLoud page of this website.

Second Movement of Concerto for Classical Accordion (2001) arranged for String Orchestra (duration: 6 minutes)
The second movement of Concerto for Classical Accordion has the potential of being performed separately from the main concerto. It can be performed as it is in the concerto, or in this arrangement. However, it started as a duet for Musical Saw and Accordion without accompaniment, and that piece is the Lament for Musical Saw and Accordion.
*Classical Overture (2003) for Classical Orchestra (2222 - 2200 - timpani & strings) (duration: 15 minutes)
This is a piece which is perfect to open a classical orchestral concert. It contains exactly the same orchestration and number of bars as Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro Overture. I had always wanted to write something as classical and precise as the Overture to Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, which is as perfect as an opera can be . Having written it for a competition by the Oare String Orchestra for a work to be played by amateur players, it lay forgotten in the proverbial bottm drawer for 10 years. When I re-discovered it and gloried in its beauties, I offered it to Edmond Fivet, the conductor of the Suffolk-based Prometheus Orchestra. Edmond was keen to perform it but insisted that I add wind, brass, and timpani to accord with Mozart’s orchestration. This was a great idea, and turned a good piece into an exciting performance by Edmond and Prometheus at Orford Church in May 2013. No recording was made, but if you access the SoundCloud page you can hear it played digitally by Sibelius with Note Performer.


Piano Sonata no. 1 in A major (1963 rev. 1989) (duration: 15 minutes)
This piece was originally an improvisation which I recorded and later transcribed. I revised and polished it in 1989.
Piano Sonata no. 2 in Db major (1963 rev. 1989) (duration: 15 minutes)
This was originally two pieces of the same period, a “Sonatina in Db major”, which amounts to the first two movements of Sonata no.2, and a Suite in Db major, which is the finale of this work, Sonata no.2. In 1981 I wrote, after a dream, in which I heard the entire music, a small piece which I called “Peppermint Delicacy”, for the reason that I had had a delicious peppermint popped in my mouth just before hearing the music. In 1989, when I was editing this concoction together, I included “Peppermint Delicacy” in Sonata no.2, and also a new slow Beethovenian Larghetto.
Piano Sonata no. 3 in Eb major (1966 rev. 1989) (duration: 15 minutes)
I revised this piece in 1989, substantially extending the A major Vivace, fughetto music and the entire development through to the newly composed variations. The original opening and closing music and its place in the structure was however untouched by the ravages of time, and I felt the humour of the original deserved a proper completion.
Piano Sonata no. 4 in A major (1968 rev. 1989) (duration: 10 minutes)
This piece is an amalgamation of an unfinished sonatina in A major, and some separate pieces written in 1966 and 1967 but also in the key of A. The source of inspiration of the opening music, the sonatina, was the popular chord sequence in Dear Mr Fantasy by the pop group Traffic, whose 1st album was, and is, very dear to me.
Piano Sonata no. 5 in Eb minor (1969 rev. 1989) (duration: 15 minutes)
I wrote the 1st  movement of this piece and the beginning of the slow movement while at school and in love for the first time. It was written for her to play. The piece was completed in 1989.
Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano (1972) (duration: 19 minutes)
My brother, Christian is a horn-player. I wrote this piece, as an addition to the repertoire, for him and for my friend Ruth Crouch. A performance was planned, to take place at, I seem to remember, Spitalfields; but it had to be cancelled as Ruth had suffered serious injuries in a road accident that put her in hospital for several weeks. I was more concerned about her survival than in seeing my piece played, and so it remained unperformed. In reviewing it these many years later, I see that it is difficult to play (and it is atonal) but it is well-structured and has a depth of expression.
Novellette for four Horns (1975) (duration: 11 minutes)
The Novellette no.1 for four Horns was written at the request of Anthony Halstead for the Anthony Halstead Horn Quintet to play. It was written in Hindhead, in late December 1974, and was finished on January 11th 1975). I took the idea of the title Novellette from Schumann as ideal for a form of music which told a possible story, but a story without words. The music is difficult to play, but I was naturally inspired by the virtuosity of Michael Tippet’s difficult Sonata for Four Horns. I intend to write a version for orchestra as the music has a sweeping lyricism. Not thinking that this piece would ever get played, some passages were used again in some subsequent works such as The Star Child and the Clarinet Quintet.
Megan Hunter (Brass Quintet no.1) (1975) (duration: 11 minutes)
Megan Hunter, completed on July 3rd 1975, was written for the Brass Quintet in which my brother, Christian, played the horn. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the group, and the group did not perform it. This piece has a distinct sense of humour and could be described as a scherzo. It is in five sections, or five chapters if you like, were you to hear the course of the music as a story. First, there is 1) an introduction heralded by a dramatic Trumpet solo. The 1st trumpet has quite a flamboyant role, which sometimes decides upon the course of the action egotistically. 2) a dance which is quite sea-sick and turbulent. This gives way, surprisingly, to 3) a Cantilena melody in E flat major. The melody, when repeated, is shared by all the instruments, the tuba (topsy-turvily) plays a free inversion of it. The accompaniment (there is an element of cheekiness in this accompaniment which was inspired by Britten’s accompaniments to such things as the Pyramus and Thisbe music in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which were also a facet of his more serious approaches to harmony) refuses to help the melody develop, and the passion in the song breaks into 4) a recitative. The 1st trumpet dramatically brings out a mute and delivers a Beethovenian recitative melody. Again the other players are of little help and the trumpet gives up, choosing to interrupt with a variant of the opening fanfare. This leads to a grand introduction to 5) the Finale, which is a Presto dance in additive rhythms.

I have written two Brass Quintets, both of which are also arranged for a brass group of 10 instruments. The 2nd, Katya’s Death and Transfiguration, has a title drawn from Richard Strauss. It has occurred to me that the 1st could be called Megan Hunter’s Merry Pranks, to extend the tribute to R Strauss. Megan Hunter, by the way, is merely a character in an Agatha Christie novel, The Moving Finger. There is no connection between the character in Agatha Christie’s novel and the piece.

Sonata for Solo Violin (1976) (in memory of Dmitri Shostakovich) (duration: 19 minutes)
I wrote the Sonata for Solo Violin for my violinist friend Ruth Crouch. It is in four connected movements. The opening sarabande melody was originally an idea written many years earlier, at school, for solo viola to be played an octave lower. The music was infused with the spirit of Shostakovich because he had just died. Shostakovich’s later symphonies were of great importance to me in the 1970s ( I was in the audience of the 1st London performance of his 15th symphony, an occasion of great influence). The movements are: 1) Maestoso 2) Presto 3) Andante and Variations 4) Finale. Both Shostakovich’s motto DSCH is used, but also the climactic moment (high up on the clarinet) of the slow movement in Peter Maxwell Davies’s Hymn to Saint Magnus is quoted at the moment of greatest passion (together with the inscription “In Memorian”) in the Andante and Variations. It has not been performed but the violinist Yfrah Neaman said it was a piece well conceived for the violin and shows off the violinists bravura performance.
Prayers to Saint Cecilia (1977) (in memory of Benjamin Britten) for Clarinet, Horn, Violin, Cello & Piano (duration: 15 minutes)
Prayers to Saint Cecilia was written in memory of Benjamin Britten, although it has no quotations from his music. Benjamin Britten was very important to me for so many years that this tribute was inevitable at his untimely death. He was born on Saint Cecilia’s day and the title is a variation of the title (Hymn to Saint Cecilia), which he had used himself. Prayers to Saint Cecilia is in five uninterrupted sections. The number five is used both rhythmically and in other ways to organise the structure of the music. There are moments when the music threatens to break out of its bonds, for instance in section two when the piano improvises skirmishes over the keyboard. Section three hems the music in again to a strictly serial technique, but breaks free utterly with canons of arabesque melody in triplet scales. The final section is a heartfelt reconciliation of mind and heart.
The Hum (1977) for solo flute (duration: 5 minutes)
The Hum was written for my flautist friend Lyn McClarin. It was performed, during a recital by the two of us, at the Carnegie Hall Recital Room, New York, on November 11th 1977.
Quintet for Clarinet & Strings (1984) (duration: 32 minutes)
Like Britten’s Simple Symphony which was a collection and re-structuring of his earlier gems, this Clarinet Quintet was composed in 1984 and based on previous piano pieces written in my childhood and early teens. There are 6 movements. A sonata-form 1st movement Allegro (which includes 2 of my “songs of the sixties” as 2nd subject and development section), a newly composed slow movement (but still based on old sketches), a canzonetta in A minor, a Scherzo (with Trio) in 5/8 time, another Scherzo and Trio in C major, and a final Tambourin (which originally was in F major and for harpsichord). The “round” in the last movement was written before the music of EastEnders was conceived and the 1st eight notes are therefore NOT a copy of it. The whole was written as an offering to my father (an amateur violinist) and a group of his amateur musician friends.
Baroque Trio (1988) - for Clarinet in A, Viola & Piano (duration: 12 minutes)
While I was taking a winter break, in Walberswick, away from the hurly burly of London, to progress on my 1st symphony, I slipped in a few hours to sketch this piece for the Leonora Ensemble, of which I was a member. It is reminiscent of the transcriptions Peter Maxwell Davies did for his instrumental group, The Fires of London, though it was in no way intended as a parody. I very much liked Max’s playful mixtures of style when he juxtaposed Purcell, say, with Foxtrots. This piece is a free but serious blending of baroque style with heartfelt modern elements.
Suffolk Rhapsody (1993) for Cello & Piano (duration: 19 minutes)
The Suffolk Rhapsody was written for my cellist friend Susanna Wilson, a former pupil of Florence Hooton. Six years earlier, in 1987, I had discovered the music of Arnold Bax. I had an immediate rapport with his music. I felt very much that the modern musical world had been derailed from a tradition which I now hankered after. I felt like someone who had not been informed about his parentage. As if Bax was from my family heritage but no-one had told me about him. For Bax was old hat as far as the new generation of composers were concerned, and I never heard his music from my birth until 1987. My musical style changed radically, and this piece reflects the taking on board of his influence upon my style. It is called Suffolk Rhapsody as it is in keeping with the name Norfolk Rhapsody which Vaughan Williams gave to three of his orchestral works, and also because I was writing most of it during my winter visits to Walberswick in Suffolk, where I took refuge to compose.
From Rilke’s Book of Hours (1995) for String Quartet (duration: 13 minutes)
You can listen to this piece in its orchestral version, by clicking here. From Rilke’s Book of Hours was originally written for Soprano, Cello & Piano, settings in German of six of Rilke’s poems on the subject of death. I think I must have had the voice of Elizabeth Schwartkopf as the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier in mind when I wrote it, as there are Straussian moments. My friend Julie Rutherford had requested that I write some music in memoriam of, and to help mourn, her close friend, Svetlana Elieva, and suggested that I might use poems from Rilke’s Book of Hours. I suggested that Julie herself might write some words of her own, but she felt that she couldn’t do just justice to the feelings. I immediately wrote much of the music before Julie returned to me and said that she would like to express her thoughts in her own words, after all. I said nothing about the work I had already done, and agreed to write her own piece which became “Final Parting”. The songs of this piece were performed, but I was not satisfied with my settings of the language and transformed the music into a string quartet. It has been performed by two different quartets in, I think, 1997 and 2005. But it has since then been revised again. It can also be performed by a string orchestra.
Piano Sonata no. 6 (1995) (duration: 13 minutes)
The Piano Sonata no. 6 is an arrangement of From Rilke’s Book of Hours.
*Katya's Death and Transfiguration (1998) for 4 Trumpets, 1 Horn, 4 Trombones & 1 Tuba (duration: 14 minutes)
Katya’s Death and Transfiguration was originally written for Brass Quintet, and was originally called “Gospel Song”. It finds its best expression in this version for a Brass Ensemble of ten players. There are times when the resources of a quintet are too fully stretched, and the expression in the piece deserves a more comfortable approach.

The piece starts with a melody that I wrote for a production at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre of Ostrovsky’s The Storm which had Simon Russell Beale and Janet McTeer in the cast. I wrote this melody for Janet to sing, and to be heard from afar to represent the weeping soul of Katya Kabanova after her death. Janet sang it beautifully but her performance was not used. As it was far too good a melody to be forgotten, I used it to begin Katya’s Death and Transfiguration. The melody is transformed throughout to the one that triumphantly ends it.

*An Intake of Breath (1999) for Violin, Musical Saw & Soprano (duration: 23 minutes)
 “A brilliant addition to the repertoire for the musical saw, written for leading exponent Harriet Longman.” (Scottish Music Centre) 

“Apart from the joy of hearing music beautifully played, it is so exquisitely beautifully written.”

An Intake of Breath was written in 1999. The violinist, Jennifer Thorn, and I had worked together on the music for the Royal Shakespeare Theatre production (1995) of Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt (director John Barton, with Alex Jennings in the title role, and Per Christian Revholt as Music Director). She introduced me to the Musical Saw player, Harriet Longman, who wanted me to write a new work for her. At the time I was writing a setting of Jennifer Thorn’s poem “An Intake of Breath”. I decided to write this new piece for violin and saw and include her beautiful and enigmatic poem at the end of the instrumental duet music.

This is the original programme-note written for the CD (see the CD credits, at the end of this programme-note).

I wrote An Intake of Breath in January 1999 in response to a request from Harriet Longman to add a contribution to the limited saw repertoire. A few years ago, I heard John Adams in an interview with Natalie Wheen on Radio 3, speaking of some of the world music he listens to. He mentioned the Syrian musician Abed Azrié. I purchased two of Abed Azrié’s CDs: Aromates and Suerté, and I felt the desire to write something similar to this music. One of the difficulties in writing for the saw was finding a rhythmic language. The saw glides from pitch to pitch. Only notes that are played with the drawing of the bow can have any great degree of rhythmic attack. If the piece I was to write should have much rhythmic definition it would have to receive it from another instrument. The quicker pulses would be defined by a violin.

This piece can be seen in terms of a several-movement sonata structure, though it is played without a break. The addition of words at the end was the bringing together of two ideas. I had intended to set Jennifer Thorn’s poem separately, but the decision to use a violin accompanment brought on the decision to conclude this piece with her poem . . .

The music falls into seven connected segments.

There is a meditative introduction (00:00’00”) which is followed by an allegro 1st movement (00:01’54”). Then a recitative-like bridge passage (00:07’34”), which exploits the use of tapping the sounds out of the saw (with a medium hard mallet, in this case a plastic toy fish), introduces the slow movement, Aria (00:10’19”) which uses pizzicato violin. (00:13’25”) is a fantasia of changing moods. An awakening bridge passage leads to a ländler and trio (musette). The return of the ländler in a lullaby mood leads us to the finale which introduces the voice (00:17’04”). A threnody (00:18’42”) postpones the temporarily the completion of the poem (00:21’24”) and, of course, the piece (00:22’58”).

If you access the SoundCloud page on this website you can hear the superb recording by Harriet Longman (musical saw), Jennifer Thorn (violin), Heidi Pegler (soprano) in St. Botolph’s church, Iken, Suffolk engineered by David Hulley on April 15th 2000, edited by Michael Stanley and remastered by Simon Weir at the Classical Recording Company)

*Oboe Quartet (1999) for Oboe & String Trio (duration: 16 minutes)
This Quartet for Oboe and String Trio was written at the suggestion of the oboist, Stella Dickinson, and Nicholas Daniel has written “I think your Oboe Quartet looks beautiful and I would certainly like to perform it at some point”.

The Quartet is in one continuous movement. The music is narrative, and describes a story. It was composed in June 1999. The instrumental textures are classical in their restraint, and the whole piece is, after some adventure, ultimately serenely joyful.

The piece can also be played as a flute quartet and was written out as such for the flautist Luke Strevens.

Piano Sonata no. 7 in Bb major “Courtly Dance” (2001) (duration: 32 minutes)
This piece started out as a reflection on a theme of Jean-Baptiste Lully. The theme is made to go through all sorts of hoops before the sonata comes to an end. I found the theme in a music book, next to the organ, while I was a teenager playing the organ for Sunday services in Ewshott, Surrey. I had always kept the music in my head but couldn’t quite remember the order of modulations. I, therefore, had to make them up myself. I played the music to my friends, Roland and Katherine Freeman-Taylor. I wasn’t at all convinced that I had impressed them, and I put the music in the proverbial bottom drawer until 2017. On considering the score again, I find I am very moved and impressed with its sound world. It was written shortly after my Concerto for Classical Accordion, and has the same desire for free flight. A sense of abandon and liberty and sensual freedom.
Piano Sonata no. 8 in C minor (2001) (duration: 30 minutes)
The Piano Sonata no. 8 in C minor was written at the request of my pianist friend Jacqueline Cole. Its structure was based on Beethoven’s C# minor string quartet.
Little Minuet (2002) Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Violin & Piano (duration: 5 minutes)
This Little Minuet was written for this unusual combination of instruments, as they were the five instruments played by all members of my brother’s family. I don’t remember that it was written for any particular occasion, but it was a present for their family enjoyment together. It is a piece full of good humour.
*String Quartet "Celebration" (2015) (duration: 12 minutes)
One Sunday evening in late April or early May this year (2015) Graeme and Penny Kay invited me to their house to talk about a possible commission. They asked me to write a string quartet lasting 7 or 8 minutes to be played by the Tippett String Quartet on November 28th in celebration of their joint 60th birthdays. I agreed with alacrity. There were two stipulations, one that they should not know the music before hearing it at the first performance, and that it should not obviously quote Happy Birthday to You.

It was to be concert opener. I knew that Graeme and Penny had heard and, I think, liked my Classical Overture. And so, armed with that knowledge, and inspired by two great classical quartets (the great concert opener Schubert’s Quartetsatz, and Beethoven’s wonderful opus 18 Quartet in B flat major) I set about writing this piece and wrote it during June and July.

I had a very firm plan for the piece. There were to be equal numbers of bars, 96 bars, for each of the various sections of the piece – exposition (with repeat), development and recapitulation giving the piece the shape of a square (or probably more accurately a rhombus!). When the music was well established I allowed my plan to vary. A coda suggested itself and, like novelists who say that they started their novel with a fully thought-out plot but the characters took on a life of their own and the author allowed the characters to take control, something similar happened in this piece, so that the piece is more of an isosceles trapezoid (with 3 sides equal)! I could have controlled the tune that is in the coda but decided not to, as I felt it was good parenting to let this child of a tune develop in its own way. Although the piece may seem not to be modern in style, to start with, I think it has a modern ending and one that is very natural to me; several of my pieces end in mid-air with a hanging question as it were. There was another reason for ending the piece with an unanswered question. The programme at Orford Church on November 28th was to continue after this curtain-raiser with Janacek’s Intimate Letters, and then Schubert’s Death and the Maiden. I accordingly thought of this piece as also serving the purpose of an introduction and use the same predominant tonality.

Lament (2001) for saw and accordion (duration: 6 minutes)
The Lament is identical to the second movement of Concerto for Classical Accordion without the orchestral accompaniment. It was the first music of that concerto to be written. My musical saw playing friend Harriet Longman, for whom I had written An Intake of Breath, asked my to write a concerto for her classical accordion teacher Owen Murray, and this was the first result of that undertaking.
*Fantasy on Salve Regina (2001) for organ (duration: 7 minutes)
As Alan Loader writes in his CD sleeve-note for his CD “SALVE REGINA – The Organ of Little St Mary’s, Cambridge – ALAN LOADER” (REGCD168 © Regent Records) the organ used in this recording was “built to a very small budget in 1978, the organ is not without its problems and defects (a rather noisy action being the most obvious of these), but they are easily outweighed by its beauty of tone and remarkable versatility for an instrument of only 17 speaking stops.”

“Jonathan Rutherford’s Fantasy on Salve Regina was written especially for this recording. Described by the composer as ‘a portrait of Mary’, this short programmatic piece draws its musical inspiration from the Marian antiphon for Trinity until Advent (Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy), which would have been in use at the time of year when Little St Mary’s was dedicated. Traces of the antiphon melody (in particular, its first five notes) pervade the whole piece, and at one point a sizeable chunk of it is quoted directly, depicting ‘the incarnation of God through her (Mary’s) son.’

I am very grateful to Regent Records for their permission to allow me the use of this fine recording of the perceptive performance by Alan Loader on my website.

Sonata for Four Double-Basses (2002) four studies of 60 bars each (duration: 10 minutes)
The Sonata for Double Bass Quartet started out as a response to a competition announcement I had read somewhere for a new piece to be written for the Double Bass repertoire. I cannot remember now, without studying the music again, why there are four pieces of such unusual length, but I am sure such attention will be repaid by enjoyment of the music.
Sonata for Cello and Piano (2018) (duration: 18 minutes)

This Sonata for Cello and Piano was commissioned by Helen Wrightson. Her daughter, Loulou Cooke, who lives in the same village as I do, asked her mother, who is 92 years old, what she would like to do in her life now that she had reached such a grand age, and her mother, who had been a cello student in her youth, and is now an avid concert-goer, replied that she would like to commission a piece of music for cello. She had had to give up playing the cello when she married so many years ago. This is how my Sonata for Cello and Piano came into being. Some of the music originates from when I was extremely young (I studied the cello with, first, Kathleen Anderson, and then, Christopher Bunting until I was 13). There are four movements played without a break. The 1st and 3rd (slow) movements were originally written for the Yehudi Menuhin School String Orchestra when I was a young teenage student there. All the music from the (faster) 2nd and 4th movements is newly composed. The exposition in the Finale, which is the longest movement, is a lively version of a passage from the opening movement. The 1st Performance will be given by Michal Kaznowski and the composer at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Orford, Suffolk UK on May 18th 2019 (7.30pm) as one item in an otherwise choral concert given by Aldeburgh Music Club conducted by Edmond Fivet and accompanied by Jonathan Rutherford.


Songs of the Sixties (1967-1970) 22 songs for Lead Singer, SATB, & rock group (duration of complete collection: 100 minutes)
I was brought up in mainly in ignorance of popular music, though I had always revelled in some of the lighter records my father had, such as Burl Ives, Italian Folk-Songs, Rock Around the Clock, Lonny Donegon’s Rock Island Line, Jean Sablon. I remember the wife of one of my cousins being amazed that I had never heard of the song “White Christmas” when I was playing Christmas carol requests. However, I spent my middle to late teens immersing myself, first in the Musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein and Lerner and Loewe, and then in the Beatles, Procol Harum, the Beach Boys and so on. While I was pondering on such music during my education at the Yehudi Menuhin School more than my teachers would have liked, I produced a stream of songs that I dreamed would be hit singles and albums. I planned that a group of us, including Andrew Watkinson, David Holst and myself would be the next pop group to amaze the world. My written-out piano scores of the songs even had “Andy” or “Dave” or “me” written on various vocal harmonies! When, after many years of neglect, I looked again at these neglected gems, I decided to put together the album that had never happened. This collection of songs could be a double CD or an evening of entertainment. I had, of course, envisaged that particular recorded sound, as found in the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Small Faces, and the Move, that made late 1960s music so exciting and creative.

These songs composed and written between Spring 1967 and 1970, mostly during 1967 and 1969 and only the Blues: I Was So Lonely Until I Met You being written in 1970, by which time my interest in “pop” music had been beginning to wane as the music of Mahler returned my interest to classical music. Three of the songs were co-written at school with David Holst: Namely, “Miss Chittle Chattle Chet” “Dusky McGraw” and If You’re Feeling Down”. (the main substance of these three songs is David’s – On the day we parted company for the last time on our last day of school, when the dream of getting a rock band together disappeared, David told me that I may consider the songs my own “I’m finished with the group”, he said. Just as Haydn accepted authorship of any good music written in his name, and as Lennon and McCartney shared their authorship, I have always felt these songs to be from my own heart). In about 2006 I put these 29 numbers into an “album”, an ideal order of sequence for a potential album. I had conceived a “concept” album in the late sixties, which was to start and end with “monks” singing a prelude and postlude: Prayers at Mont St Michel. That music serves the beginning and end of a complete set of these songs.

The complete album of songs are in the order they are to be heard, the titles are: Prelude: Prayers at Mont St Michel, Miss Chittle Chattle Chet, Effervescent Cherubs, A Walk in the Park, Set Me a Problem, Pesante Largo , Life’s Ingredients/Dusky McGraw, Reduced to the Gutter, Traversing the Time, Lazy Afternoon, Tiger Flower, If You’re Feeling Down, The Power of the Figureheads, Time, If I said No, O Indigo Night, O Giles, Jubilee Lane, Marionette, Sequel to O Giles, I was a Schoolboy, Everybody’s Gonna Have The Time Of Their Lives, If You’ll Excuse Me I’m A Very Bad Dancer, Fine Man, But It’s A Party, Twelve-tone Blues (instrumental), I Want You I Need You, Blues: I Was So Lonely Until I Met You, Postlude: Prayers at Mont St Michel.

Journey of the Magi (1968 revised 2014) (words by T.S.Eliot) Baritone & Chamber Ensemble (duration: 12 minutes)
While I was writing pop music, I was also studying “seriously” and I visited Lennox Berkeley in school holidays for composition lessons. LB’s lessons were very gentle. He would study the music and make tentative suggestions. He did not give me challenging tasks, but he gave me something very valuable, a belief in myself and was like a musical father. Beyond a brief mention of the fact, I did not confide in him my obsession with pop music, as I knew it was outside his taste. And so I continued to show him music that was “classical” such as this setting of the Journey of the Magi. The ending was written too hurriedly, and I revised the piece in 2014.
The Sorrow of Parting (1972) (words by Emily Dickinson) Soprano & Chamber Ensemble (duration: 12 minutes)
The Sorrow of Parting shows the influence of Peter Maxwell Davies’s chamber music-theatre works of the late sixties. The instrumental ensemble is Alto Flute, Clarinet, Viola and Harp providing a gently dark sonority. The short poem is set with quite long melismas. At a Dartington Summer School seminar, at which Peter Maxwell Davies’s Fires of London played through The Sorrow of Parting, the composer George Brown who had the task of conducting it commented that he did not understand it. (It is a strange mixture of C# minor and atonality). I am quite proud to say that Max listened attentively and spoke that he rather liked it.

The Sorrow of Parting was completed in Farnham, Surrey on the 13th of December 1972; and revised April 1973.

O Sweet Spontaneous Earth (1972 & 1977) (5 poems by e. e. cummings) Song Cycle for unaccompanied Soprano (duration: 8 minutes)
For my 12th or 13th  birthday, my cello teacher (for I studied the cello between the ages of 8 and 13) Christopher Bunting gave me a small paper-back book of selected poems by e. e. cummings. This book became a bible to me. I carried it around everywhere for many years and eventually I set many of the poems to music. I cannot remember whether this piece was conceived in 1972 or after. Some or all of the songs were written at the earlier date and were given proper attention in 1977. This piece and the Sonata for Solo Violin of 1975, show the joy I took in melodic lines that had their own value without need of accompaniment.
Sonnet: it may not always be so (1974) (poem by e. e. cummings) for Baritone, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion (duration: 11 minutes)
I wrote several pieces in the early 1970s on the subject of emotional loss. It is true to say that I was not aware until many years later that I had done so. Perhaps my understanding of loss came from the extreme homesickness I felt during my first year as a boarder, away from home at the age of ten and a half, at the new, experimental, Yehudi Menuhin School when it opened, with all its teething problems, in London.

The first such piece was “The Sorrow of Parting” (1972), the setting of an Emily Dickinson poem. “Luscinia Megarhynchos” (1973), a setting of a Greek poem followed. Then, “Sonnet: it may not always be so” came; a setting of a sonnet by e.e.cummings. The solo singer is a Baritone, and the instrumental accompaniment, like several other works of mine from this period, is that of The Fires of London and Pierrot Lunaire (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion).

Some of the elements in the music are the same as in other works of mine of this period. There is a scrunchy piano chord which uses 11 or 12 of the notes of the chromatic scale, from which I drew inspiration. Music is quoted from “Luscinia Megarhynchos” at the parallel moments of the poet’s anguish, and a passage is quoted from my Horn trio (1972). The Horn Trio had been dedicated with all my love and hopes to Ann. There is a smooth-running flute melody, which was inspired by music from Britten’s Death in Venice.

The Whole Garden Will Bow (1975) (3 poems by e. e. cummings) Baritone & Piano (duration: 35 minutes)
While I was studying in France, I conceived of this piece while on the cheap night English Channel ferry which I used to take. I remember the moment that I chose to take these three poems about father, mother, and children, and turn them into a sort of dramatic sonata. This piece cannot be described as a song-cycle. It has the dramatic expressionism that I found in the Fires of London music that Peter Maxwell Davies had written just before this period. Oliver Knussen, to whom I showed the score, thought that the piano part might be orchestrated; though I was convinced that the concept of combat, between the singer and the pianist (complete with 9-foot grand piano) on a large stage, would be lost. This might be the wildest music with the least regard for the performers’ ease that I have written, but I am proud of its strength of feeling and sense of form.
Requiescat (1975) (poem by Oscar Wilde) for Soprano, Clarinet & Piano (duration: 10 minutes)
I wrote this setting of Oscar Wilde’s Requiescat in September 1975. The short poem is a sad and touching expression of grief at the death of his daughter. I was asked by Nicholas Bucknall to write it for a concert to be given, by Caroline More (soprano) Nick himself (clarinet) and myself (piano). I immediately set the first verse when, Nick called me to say that the concert was off, that we would have to cancel. I said, of course, that I had already begun the music and was keen to continue it. Nick immediately responded with grace, saying that we must definitely find a date to play it. And so the outcome was a first performance at Leighton House, London. Nick has been a marvellous man in asking for music from me. The other work I wrote at his behest was “The Pied Piper” for his Whispering Wind Band in 1978. Requiescat very much shows my preoccupation with the clarinet playing of Alan Hacker, the Fires of London’s exciting clarinettist (and, indeed, his pupil Nicholas Bucknall) and with the processes of composition in the music of Peter Maxwell Davies, in particular, his setting of George Mackay Brown’s poem From Stone to Thorn.
All Skies Fall (1976) (9 poems by e. e. cummings) High Tenor & Piano (duration: 30 minutes)
All Skies Fall is described as being for High Tenor, but it would be more accurate to describe it as being for a singer who is comfortable with classical and rock music, and can sing with the sort of range an amplified rock singer attempts. The range of All Skies Fall is 2 and a half octaves (from a low A to a high D flat), and the vocal expression is something between Robert Plant (of Led Zeppelin) and Peter Pears! I enjoyed combining Palestrina counterpoint with blues rhythm and free tonality as in the central song. The songs range from infectious tunes to moments of atonal consideration. The 2nd song (yes is a pleasant country) was a great favourite with Lennox Berkeley. And more than once when I visited him in Warwick Avenue, he welcomed me by playing and singing it himself at the piano.
Solitude (1978) (poem by A.A.Milne) for High Voice and Guitar (duration: 2 minutes)
This short song was at first set in its own. With its picture in the book “Now we are six” the poem held a special place for me in my childhood. It was relevant to the sense of loneliness felt by The Star-Child in my opera and so, later, I incorporated it there. Maybe this song was a study for that opera. I showed it to Peter Pears, and he said to me that it was very difficult. I took that comment to heart as criticism at the time. But I have heard many performers sing music with far greater difficulty.
The Star-Child In Solitude (1983) (words by the composer & a poem by A.A.Milne) for Mezzo-Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (duration: 30 minutes)
The Star-Child In Solitude is a concert suite of music from my opera The Star-Child.
Behold This Dreamer (1987) (14 poems by Walter de la Mare) Soprano, Clarinet, Viola and Piano (duration: 45 minutes)
Behold This Dreamer was written in the wake of my change of musical direction after completing the Star-Child. I deliberately turned in the direction of greater tunefulness and tonality after my discovery of the music of Arnold Bax. I had become troubled by the distance I felt there was between dissonant atonal music and “ordinary” people (whatever they are!). However that may be, these songs released a freedom of expression that I was bound to experience, a simplicity of utterance. Some of the songs were performed by Gaynor Miles and the Leonora Ensemble. I was the pianist with the Leonora Ensemble and I wrote the songs with Gaynor Miles in mind; I was so struck by her dazzling coloratura vocal range. Some of the songs may be performed separately, but others are inter-connected and have to run from one to another. The song Rachel, near the end, was described, by a member of the audience, as powerful in its evocation of the poem and quite spooky. All of the songs evoke Walter de la Mare’s intimate world of memories and things. The first song, The Ghost, was performed several times on its own, due to its popularity with the Leonora Ensemble and its audiences.
Journey of the Magi (2nd setting of words by T.S.Eliot) (2001) 3 Baritone Singers (duration: 8 minutes)
Not in any way wishing to compete with my earlier setting of Journey of the Magi, I had the idea of writing a dramatic version of the poem. The idea, which this setting demonstrates, is to allow the words to be spoken by the three Magi in canon. Each uses the stage to make the journey, but they sing in their turn, only finally singing the words in rhythmic harmony at the end.


One Way of Looking at a Blackbird (1972) (Poem by Wallace Stevens) for Reciter & ChamberEnsemble (duration: 5 minutes)
In 1972 I was a member of Harrison Birtwistle’s Composition class at Morley College, London. I believe I remember that there were thirteen students in that class and Harry had given us each one of Wallace Stevens’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” to set to music. This was my contribution. I remember being aware, in the rhythmical notation of language, that crotchets and quavers and the like (which have sufficed for centuries) are not a strictly accurate definition of how words are enunciated. I amused Harry with my attempts to write extremely complicated rhythm. Actually, in this piece, the rhythms are either very simple or not defined at all. I am still aware that classical singers, though not actors (who have different faults), damage the words when they put written rhythm before the natural rules of phrase-making. Harry, with his clear sense of focus, taught me about clarity; I can see Birtwistle’s influence in this piece.
The Pied Piper (1978) for Reciter & Chamber Orchestra (or original version for Wind Octet) (duration: 19 minutes)
The Pied Piper was originally for Reciter and Wind Octet (commissioned by Nicholas Bucknall for the Whispering Wind Band with funds provided by South-East Arts). Since the early performances by The Whispering Wind Band The Pied Piper has been performed by Patricia Routledge (with the Royal Shakespeare Wind Band), Johnny Morris, and Colin Baker (both with symphony orchestra at London’s Barbican Hall for Raymond Gubbay’s Teddy Bear concerts for children).

While I was on a tour of Northern England as the class pianist with the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, and I was composing All Skies Fall, I received a phone-call from my clarinettist friend Nicholas Bucknall to ask me to write a piece of music to accompany narration; it was to be for an audience of children and played by The Whispering Wind Band whose music director was Alan Hacker and of which he was the lead clarinet. I relished the composing of this piece. The words were by Anne, Nick’s first wife. I remember I asked myself what sort of music should I write for an audience of children. I answered the question by asking myself what sort of music I had liked when I was a child. It was the music of Mozart and Beethoven. When I was probably nine years old I had written the music which starts This Pied Piper, and so I mined it to use it again as the opening march-like music. I might say that I dislike the notion that children only like children’s music. Child-friendly hymns, for instance, are to me, condescending. They can well like the richness of “adult” music. The first performance took place in Farnham, Surrey; and it was repeated many times, on tour, by The Whispering Wind Band. I revised the orchestration of The Pied Piper, later; as it was always difficult to balance, even, the amplified voice of the narrator with the naturally loud volume of wind instruments. The Farnham Herald newspaper wrote that “It (the Pied Piper) was extremely and effectively descriptive. A rich melodic introduction caught the attention and this moved into dramatic effects, especially the scurrying of rats…. but this was no gimmicky composition. It was expressively conceived and should be popular.” (The Farnham Herald)

My Cat Jeoffrey (1987) (Poem by Christopher Smart) for Reciter, Singer (Treble), Horn & String Quartet (duration: 30 minutes)
(fictitious) FAQs about My Cat Jeoffrey (Qs&As written by the composer, as programme-note)

Q: What kind of a piece is My Cat Jeoffrey? Is it chamber-music, is it a story with music or is it music-theatre?

A: My Cat Jeoffrey is a piece that probably does not fit easily into any category. It is ultimately a 35-minute piece of music-theatre for Reciter and optional singer (a treble) with Horn and String Quartet. But the music is not there just to accompany the words. The music and words are so connected with each other that the reciter is not only expressing the words, he is also expressing the effect of the music.

Q: Is My Cat Jeoffrey the same Jeoffrey that the 18th Century poet Christopher Smart wrote about in his lengthy poem Jubilate Egno?

A: Yes, it is a wonderful, imaginative and rambling feline fantasy. You may remember also that Benjamin Britten had set eight lines from this same poem giving the words to a treble solo. I found the poem, 78 lines, which I believed to be the complete poem, in the Penguin book of Romantic verse. But Britten uses a line “For I am possessed of a cat . . . etc.” that was not not one of the 78. I wonder if that line is Britten’s own invention.

Q: When did you write My Cat Jeoffrey?

A: I started it in the summer of 1976, when I was 23 years, and I completed it on September 25th 1988, according to my original score, and I revised it in 1993 adding a bright and cheerful overture.

Q: Why did it take so long?

A: The initial inspiration came old, and I was on close terms with an artist’s family. The father was a painter, his wife was a violinist and the three daughters played violin, cello and viola, whilst the young son had started learning the French horn. I was asked to write a piece for them all to play together, and I immediately started writing. I had chosen the Smart poem and to use the music of the nursery rhyme “I love little pussy her coat is so warm”. I was going to use the nursery rhyme melody forwards, backwards, upside down and the retrograde inversion. My vision of the piece was too ambitious and so the piece was not played. But I was so fascinated with the task of setting these words and making counterpoint out of the melodies that I only completed the piece many years later.

Q: Whereas Britten used only eight lines of Christopher Smart’s poem, you have chosen to set all 78 lines? The poem seems very rambling, and all of the lines start with the word “For”. Did the free style of the poem cause any problems?

A: I knew that I had to make a structure for my piece. To find an underlying purpose in the poem, I divided it up into different possible equal segments. One discovery I made was that the amusing line “For the English cats are the best in Europe” was exactly half way through, and I decided that this should herald a playful version of “Jerusalem”, a Scherzo and Trio.

Q: If the completed piece has a Scherzo and Trio does this mean that there is a 1st movement, a slow movement and a finale?

A: Yes, there is the ghost of a four movement structure: an overture and 1st movement, a slow movement (“For having consider’d God and himself”), Scherzo and Trio (“For the English cats are the best in Europe”), introduction of finale (“For his tongue is exceeding pur so that it has in purity what it wants in musick”), and a finale followed by extended coda, which happens after the poem has run its course, closing with a gorgeous final rendition of the nursery rhyme “I love little pussy her coat is so warm”.

Q: You have got me interested. Will I be able to hear the words during this digital performance or will I be able to I read them at the appropriate moments?

A: The piece has not been performed yet, and I have not worked out how to do a demonstration combining the virtual instruments with an added real voice, so you will have to read the lines at the appropriate places in the recording. The lines have the minutes and seconds marked next to them.

Q: Tell me a little more about the theatre aspect of the envisaged “real” performance.

A: When I started writing this, I was 23 years old and very much inspired by the music-theatre works of the late 1960s, especially those by Peter Maxwell Davies and performed by the Fires of London. I envisage the reciter “being” Christopher Smart (dressed for some reason like Scrooge in his night-clothes) reacting to the words and music at times with intensity. I envisaged the treble being a demure Victorian girl, as in the nursery rhyme books I had as a child, and I envisage that there should be no sentimentality about the singing of a beautiful nursery rhyme, and that the singing should be good, not “showing off”. I think of the moment sung here as being very pure, expressing love of the beautiful feline creature, as there is love in Smart’s poem.

The Last Flower (1999) (the fable by James Thurber) for Reciter, Three Backing Singers, Synthesizer, & Brass Quintet (duration: 13 minutes)
“The Last Flower” is a parable about fictional World War 13, yes, 13! It is a setting of the beautiful fable by James Thurber which I had known for many years, in the version with Thurber’s pictures which my Uncle Harry possessed. Whenever I visited him as a child, I took the opportunity to read through this book. It is a story with much relevance. It tells of the inevitable cycle of destruction humanity imposes upon the beautiful natural world. My setting was written inn 1999. How fitting it would have been if it had been performed before the shocking events of September 11th 2001. It is a warning against military hatred, and for the power of love. It was written very quickly and in the spirit of expressionism. The music is quite atonal, but quotes an anonymous medieval dance.


The Prince of Peace (from Handel's Messiah) arranged for the “Pierrot Lunaire” instrumentation 1972 (duration: 5 minutes)
Between 1969 and 1975 I was a devotee of the chamber music that Peter Maxwell Davies was writing for The Fires of London, and some of the music I was writing was for the “Pierrot Lunaire” instrumentation of Violin, Cello, Flute, Clarinet and Piano with Soprano. This arrangement was written, for that combination, in the manner of the rather curious arrangements that Peter Maxwell Davies created in the late 1960s using Purcell, Buxtehude, Dunstable and others as a starting point. Strange to say it for a boy was immersed in classical music, but I did not know Handel’s Messiah very well until I was 19 years old, when I worked on it as a rehearsal pianist for the Farnham and Bourne Choral Society (of which my father was a member who sang with the basses). In my imagination, Handel and Peter Maxwell Davies became entwined and I found myself writing this tribute to Max. (I don’t like to call it a pastiche, though some will say it is). The atonal “Amen” which concludes this arrangement is very slight and merely finds itself searching for a tonal cadence. I have never had the audacity to show it until now. It may be seen as a product of its time and as a tribute to Max’s sense of humour, if nothing else.
*Mahler’s 4th Symphony – arranged for the “Pierrot Lunaire” instrumentation 1974 (duration: 50 minutes)
While I was a part-time student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, having left school, I had conducting tuition from Robert Barclay Wilson. He introduced me to the music of Mahler which at that time was not yet hugely popular. The main recordings of his music were mainly those by Otto Klemperer, Bruno Walter, Bernstein, Horenstein. I got to know one symphony after another and the music changed my inner life. Mahler’s music was a revelation.

At the same period in my life I was a devotee of the chamber music that Peter Maxwell Davies was writing for The Fires of London, and much of the music I was writing was for the “Pierrot Lunaire” instrumentation of Violin, Cello, Flute, Clarinet and Piano with Soprano. I was thinking of Mahler’s Fourth symphony one day when it occurred to me that, just as Webern had arranged Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony for the “Pierrot Lunaire” instrumentation, so could an arrangement be made of Mahler’s Fourth symphony for the same. Indeed the original score starts with passages for these very instruments. It turned out to be a very good idea. My chamber version (written in 1974), accentuates the attractive and interesting chamber music qualities even more than does the arrangement by Schoenberg for the 15 instruments of his own Chamber Symphony. The 2nd movement sounds at times likes a Bach Trio Sonata, and there are moments elsewhere where we are reminded of the Vienneseness of Schubert’s Chamber Music. The last movement starts with a piano accompaniment and we are reminded of the art of the Lied as accompanied by that instrument.

You can hear a performance by accessing the SOundCloud page of this website. This wonderful performance was the result of a dedicated team of good friends and excellent musicians. Sarah Newbold (flute), Nicholas Bucknall, who had commissioned me to write “The Pied Piper” in 1976 for which I am forever grateful (clarinet), John Francis who, with David Hulley (who was sound engineer on the recording of “An Intake of Breath”), taught me about the musical value of jazz and made me reflect upon the fact that jazz that should be inherent in all good music including so-called “classical” music (one of the most valuable lessons I have learnt in music), Avis Perthen (cellist, with the New Philharmonia Orchestra, whose committed playing and whose encouragement and enthusiasm for the project of playing the arrangement was paramount) and Sally Bradshaw, whose singing on this recording is as beautiful and right for the music as any I have heard), John Leonard (sound engineer at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre) and the pianist, Philip Fowke, at whose house we were all given the opportunity to perform this arrangement in front of a small invited audience.

Souvenirs de Oxford Circus – 8 pieces of French Ballet Music by Riccardo Drigo and others - arranged 1977 (duration: 30 minutes)
In 1977, I was the Assistant Music Director for John Curry’s Ice-Skating Theatre which, after three weeks at the Bristol Hippodrome, opened at the London Palladium. I had accompanied rehearsals on the piano. One of the “numbers” in the show was a collection of French Ballet Music by Riccardo Drigo and other 19th century popular composers. For several years, I had hoped to found a modern-music chamber group comprised of clarinet, horn, violin cello & piano, which would perform my music. In 1977 I transcribed this French Ballet Music for that combination, for which I also wrote Prayers to Saint Cecilia. The music was so embedded in me after so much immersion in it that I wrote that arrangement from memory without any reference to the printed music. In looking again, in 2017, at the manuscript score, and feeling the simple joy of the music, I am aware that I was expressing my exuberance for life and being in love with the writing of this transcription. My love of Viennese-influenced music has remained with me and, indeed, for many years I have accompanied dance rehearsals for Raymond Gubbay’s annual Johann Strauss Galas.

The eight movements of “Souvenirs de Oxford Circus” (a light-hearted title which refers to the tongue-in-cheek quadrilles on Wagner tunes by Fauré and Messager known as “Souvenirs de Bayreuth”) are 1) Overture 2) Polka 3) Waltz 4) Polka 5) Drinking Song 6) Czardas 7) Nocturne 8) Galop.

Bach’s Ricercare à 6 from The Musical Offering (1st performed at the Wigmore Hall April 23rd 1978) for Violin, Horn, Piano & Organ (duration: 5 minutes)
On 23rd April 1978, two months after the 1st performance of my The Pied Piper, my brother Christian Rutherford (horn), Elisabeth Perry (violin), Sheila Lawrence (organ) and I (piano) gave a concert at the Wigmore Hall. It was one of a series of six concerts, dreadfully entitled “Six of the Best”. The final piece in the programme was Brahms’s Trio for Violin, Horn & Piano, but there was a substantial amount of music for organ solo. To combine all the players I wrote a piece called “The Killing of the Dragon”. It was St George’s Day after all. While “The Killing of the Dragon” has been lost in the mists of time, some of it became part of Act Two of my opera The Star-Child. I also made an arrangement of Bach’s Ricercare à 6 from The Musical Offering. Webern’s arrangement for orchestra is better known, but I do prefer this one. It is less heavily weighted with orchestral sound. There is a passage of freely composed melody given to the violin in my version. Bach would have approved, I do not doubt.
Nordic Dances (Grieg) for Clarinet, Viola & Piano - arranged 1987 (duration: 15 minutes)
I arranged these lovely pieces for the Leonora Ensemble with whom I played the piano. We performed the suite on many occasions, always loving the playing of it. I have always felt a strong bond with Grieg. His music is quite unpretentious and has taken me, and my heart to Norway. One of the melodies in this collection, in its original piano version, was used as the theme music for the BBC children’s programme The Woodentops.
Martha, My Dear (Lennon-McCartney) for String Ensemble - arranged 1990 for Beverley Davison's "Hot Strings" (duration: 3 minutes)
One day, at Waterloo Station, I met my old school friend Beverley Davison. She was gathering material for her enterprising group “Hot Strings”, and she asked me to write arrangements of popular music. I said I would love to, and that I had music in mind that “Hot Strings” could play. After about three months I had completed both “Martha, My Dear” and “Since I’ve Been Loving You”. Neither arrangement has been performed, however. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” is quite intricate as you can imagine. Although there are, and were, printed sheet music versions of both these songs, I listened to my audio tapes very carefully and transcribed every tiny detail with loving reverence.
Since I’ve Been Loving You (Led Zeppelin) for String Ensemble & Harp - arranged 1990 for Beverley Davidon's "Hot Strings" (duration: 7 minutes)
One day, at Waterloo Station, I met my old school friend Beverley Davison. She was gathering material for her enterprising group “Hot Strings”, and she asked me to write arrangements of popular music. I said I would love to, and that I had music in mind that “Hot Strings” could play. After about three months I had completed both “Martha, My Dear” and “Since I’ve Been Loving You”. Neither arrangement has been performed, however. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” is quite intricate as you can imagine. Although there are, and were, printed sheet music versions of both these songs, I listened to my audio tapes very carefully and transcribed every tiny detail with loving reverence.