Instrumentation: Electronics
Published in EMC Visual Anthology.
Imperfect private performance, Portsmouth College of Art, November 1970

Duration: c. 12’
Dedication: Ensemble Tozai
Instrumentation: shakuhachi, violin, piano, Japanese untuned percussion
First performance: Ensemble Tozai, The Royal Pavilion, Brighton May 17th 2001

Note : Fax to Chris Hinkins (cc. Rachel Oakley/ Rosie Lindsell)

Fax to Chris Hinkins (cc. Rachel Oakley/ Rosie Lindsell)

April 19th 2001

Dear Chris

re. Toru's Mist

I need to add a couple of lines to the instructions for instrumentalists and I guess it would be best to put it on the page with the percussion instructions rather than on the prelims page (which Rachel will do).

If the text for the percussion part is tightened up on to three lines and the layout diagram is done slightly smaller maybe it could all fit? I realise however that the percussion layout would also need to be in the part as well as the score.

shakuhachi: although the part is written in a quite simple way, there are some indications of ornamentation and vibrato in the part, and the player is encouraged to extend this freely within the context of the overall musical texture.

piano: notes in the bass written as harmonics - diamond-shaped note heads - are to be depressed silently and held down, initially by the hand, though weights or matchsticks may be more effective. 

Is this OK? I know you're away until Monday of course.

All the best


Note : Toru's Mist (2001)

Toru's Mist (2001)

for shakuhachi, violin, piano and Japanese percussion

This piece was written for the Ensemble Tozai for a series of performances starting in May 2001. The combination of performers - two playing western instruments, two playing Japanese - gives a unique flavour to the instrumentation, and is the source of many of the musical ideas within the piece. It represents a kind of memorial to Toru Takemitsu, whom I met for the first time in Tokyo in the mid-1980's, and whose ability to reconcile (so-called) Eastern and Western sensibilities produced a subtle and moving synthesis. For my part, I have had a long and sustained interest in Japanese culture: I was active in judo as a teenager (taking a greater interest in the aesthetic formal structures than fighting); I attended classes of the late Christmas Humphries at the Buddhist Society in London and, following my time as a philosophy student, find Zen Buddhism to be the most coherent form of religion; I studied Japanese written language (as a hobby) for three years in the early 70's; and the performances of Gagaku which I saw at the Albert Hall in 1969 struck me forcibly as being as close to ensemble perfection as it is possible to be.

In bringing these four instruments together as an ensemble, I sought to form some kind of hybrid - rather than fusion - from the individual elements. The "western" piano and "eastern" percussion form a single sound world at times concentrating a great deal on resonance, while the shakuhachi and violin adapt to western norms, for example in a series of quasi-baroque suspensions. The percussion instruments, almost entirely untuned, or rather with unspecified pitch, are those which form part of Joji Hirota's multi-percussion set-up.

The piano is also used in such a way as to generate selected overtones which accord with the tuning of the shakuhachi. Given that the shakuhachi is essentially a pentatonic instrument, from a given pitch (here D) I concentrate on those 'open' notes which form the essence of its normal tone production, although the context is far from modal. The chromatic world in which it finds itself in this piece is often at odds with the instrument's modal character but constantly seeks to find an accommodation. The instrument can, of course, be completely chromatic but I use this element sparingly, either by implication or through inflection.

The title refers both to the sense of atmosphere and veiled recollection in Takemitsu's music, but also to the climactic conditions in the Western Isles which produce the single malts that he and I enjoyed together.

Gavin Bryars


Duration: c.15’
Instrumentation:  Cello, tuba, reed organ, tapes/slides.
First performance: ICC, Antwerp, 15 May l976

Ded. Audrey Riley
Solo cello
First performance Spain

Text: St Brendan, Tróndur
Solo soprano, solo bass, choir (SATB), chamber orchestra
Duration c. 30'
First performance, Gøtu, Faroe Islands, July 12 2008
Eivør Palsdottir, Rúni Brattaberg, choir, Aldúbaran, conductor Gavin Bryars

Text anonymous Gaelic 16th century
Setting of old unaccompanied melody for tenor and ensemble (Part of Anail De project)
First performance: Iarla O'Lionaird, voice, Leo Abrahams, guitar, Gavin Bryars, bass, members of the Crash Ensemble
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin November 2008

Choir and organ
First performance: Billesdon Church Choir; Choirmaster Stephen Baden-Fuller; organist Roger Marvin.
December 23 2007 St John the Baptist Church, Billesdon

Note : The Golden Carol of the Three Kings Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar

The Golden Carol of the Three Kings Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar

We saw the light shine out afar,
On Christmas in the morning,
And straight we knew Christ's Star it was,
Bright beaming in the morning,

Then did we fall on bended knee,
On Christmas in the morning,
And praised the Lord, who'd let us see
His glory at its dawning.

Oh! Every thought be of His name,
On Christmas in the morning,
Who bore for us the grief and shame,
Affliction's sharpest scorning.

And may we die, when death shall come,
On Christmas in the morning,
And see in Heav'n, our glorious home,
The Star of Christmas morning.

---Old English Carol

Note : New Prince, New Pomp

New Prince, New Pomp

Behold, a seely tender babe

In freezing winter night

In homely manger trembling lies--

Alas, a piteous sight!

The inns are full, no man will yield

This little pilgrim bed,

But forced he is with seely beasts

In crib to shroud his head.

Despise him not for lying there;

First, what he is enquire.

An orient pearl is often found

In depth of dirty mire.

Weigh not his crib, his wooden dish,

Nor beasts that by him feed;

Weigh not his mother's poor attire

Nor Joseph's simple weed.

This stable is a prince's court,

This crib his chair of state,

The beasts are parcel of his pomp,

The wooden dish his plate.

The persons in that poor attire

His royal liveries wear;

The prince himself is come from heaven--

This pomp is prizëd there.

With joy approach, O Christian wight;

Do homage to thy king;

And highly prize his humble pomp

Which he from heaven doth bring.

Robert Southwell
( 1561-1595)

Tenor and bass recorders
Duration 5’
First performance Peter Bowman and Kathryn Bennetts
May 2007

Two madrigals for three female voices (Juice Vocal Ensemble) setting sonnets by Petrach


Note : Texts


1. "Io amai sempre" (Petrarch: Rime Sparse 85)

Io amai sempre, et amo forte ancora,

et son per amar più di giorno in giorno

quel dolce loco ove piangendo torno

spesse fiate quando Amor m'accora;


et son fermo d'amare il tempo et l'ora

ch'ogni vil cura mi levar dintorno,

et più colei lo cui bel viso adorno

di ben far co' suoi esempli m'innamora.


Ma chi pensò veder mai tutti insieme

per assalirmi il core, or quindi or quinci,

questi dolce nemici ch' i' tant' amo?


Amor, con quanto sforzo oggi mi vinci!

et se non ch' al desio cresce la speme,

i' cadrei morto ove più viver bramo.


Translation by Robert M. Durling

I have always loved and still I love and I shall day by day love even more that sweet place where weeping I return many times when Love saddens me;

And I am fixed in loving the time and the hour that removed every low care from around me, and above all her whose lovely face makes me in love with doing well, thanks to her example.

But whoever thought to see them all together, to assail my heart now from this side, now from that, these sweet enemies that I so much love?

Love, with what power today you vanquish me! And, except that hope increases with desire, I would fall dead, where I most desire to live.


2. "Solo et pensoso" (Petrarch: Rime Sparse 35)

Solo et pensoso i più deserti campi

vo mesurando a passi tardi et lenti,

et gli occhi porto per fuggire intenti

ove vestigio uman la rena stampi.


Altro schermo non trovo che mi scampi

dal manifesto accorger de le genti,

perché negli atti d'allegrezza spenti

di fuor si legge com' io dentro avampi.


Si ch' io mi credo omai che monti et piagge

et fiumi et selve sappian di che tempre

sia la mia vita, ch' è celata altrui;


ma pur sì aspre vie né sì selvagge

cercar non so ch' Amor non venga sempre

ragionando con meco, et io con lui.


Translation by Robert M. Durling

Alone and filled with care, I go measuring the most deserted fields with steps delaying and slow, and I keep my eyes alert so as to flee from where any human footprint marks the sand.

No other shield do I find to protect me from people's open knowing, for in my bearing, in which all happiness is extinguished, anyone can read from without how I am aflame within.

So that I believe by now that mountains and shores and rivers and woods know the temper of my life, which is hidden from other persons;

but still I cannot seek paths so harsh or so savage that Love does not always come along discoursing with me and I with him.