A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Duration: 8’
Instrumentation: piano, strings (3.2.2.2.2)
First performance: Theatre de la Ville, Paris November 5th 2002 (for “Writings on Water”, dance by Carolyn Carlson)



Duration: 45’
Commissioned by the Tate Gallery Liverpool for its opening celebration.
Instrumentation: 2 cathedral organs, female choir, alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet,  percussion ( 4 players, see Percussion for details), 5 trombones, euphonium, 2 tubas.
Performed: Albert Dock, Liverpool, 24-26 May 1988.



Duration:  38’
Opera, (realisation of Tom Phillips' work)
No live performance (version made for recording: Obscure Records)



For electric guitar, viola, cello and double bass

Note : Gavin's note

Gavin's note

It Never Rains is a short piece written in the summer of 2010 that was commissioned by Jim Fox for the Californian label Cold Blue Music and is dedicated to them. The title comes from two sources: the Beach Boys song "It never rains in Southern California" and the English expression "It never rains but it pours" that is used whenever pressing matters arrive from all sides at the same time. It was written specifically for Jim to record, though the first live performance was by players in my own ensemble at a concert in Orléans, France in January 2011.

 

 



Instrumentation: Pre-recorded Tape and ensemble
Duration: 25’ 40’ 60’ or 74’
First performance:  Queen Elizabeth Hall, December 1972.

Note : Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet

Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet

In 1971, when I lived in London, I was working with a friend, Alan Power, on a film about people living rough in the area around Elephant and Castle and Waterloo Station. In the course of being filmed, some people broke into drunken song - sometimes bits of opera, sometimes sentimental ballads - and one, who in fact did not drink, sang a religious song "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet". This was not ultimately used in the film and I was given all the unused sections of tape, including this one.

When I played it at home, I found that his singing was in tune with my piano, and I improvised a simple accompaniment. I noticed, too, that the first section of the song - 13 bars in length - formed an effective loop which repeated in a slightly unpredictable way. I took the tape loop to Leicester, where I was working in the Fine Art Department, and copied the loop onto a continuous reel of tape, thinking about perhaps adding an orchestrated accompaniment to this. The door of the recording room opened on to one of the large painting studios and I left the tape copying, with the door open, while I went to have a cup of coffee. When I came back I found the normally lively room unnaturally subdued. People were moving about much more slowly than usual and a few were sitting alone, quietly weeping.

I was puzzled until I realised that the tape was still playing and that they had been overcome by the old man's singing. This convinced me of the emotional power of the music and of the possibilities offered by adding a simple, though gradually evolving, orchestral accompaniment that respected the tramp's nobility and simple faith. Although he died before he could hear what I had done with his singing, the piece remains as an eloquent, but understated testimony to his spirit and optimism.

The piece was originally recorded on Brian Eno's Obscure label in 1975 and a substantially revised and extended version for Point Records in 1993. The version that is played by my ensemble was specially created in 1993 to coincide with this last recording.



For viol consort (treble, 2 tenors, 2 basses) and lute
Duration c.5’
First performance: Concordia, Cheltenham Festival, July 17th 2004



Duration 10’
Dedication: Audrey Riley
Instrumentation: solo cello, piano, optional electric guitar
First Performance: Djanogly Hall Nottingham, October 3rd 2002

Note : Lauda (con sordino)

Lauda (con sordino)

This short piece for cello and piano, with an optional part for electric guitar, was written specially for Audrey Riley, who has performed pieces of mine on a number of occasions in the past - notably with Icebreaker (The Archangel Trip) and with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (Biped). The optional guitar part is for James Woodrow who has been a member of my ensemble for almost ten years and whose playing I love.

Over the last year or so I have begun to write a number of pieces for unaccompanied voice based on the texts and format of the "lauda", a large collection of which appears in a manuscript collection from 13th century Cortona. These were quasi-religious (but non-liturgical) songs which were sung outside churches and in other public places.  In setting these texts  I do not imitate the style of the original but rather the spirit and form. As these were in my mind at the time I wrote the piece for Audrey I modified the form - adding accompaniment, parallel lines and so on - while attempting to retain the purity and austerity of the original.

The piece is dedicated to Audrey.

 

Note : Lauda (con sordino) - viola version

Lauda (con sordino) - viola version

This short piece, originally for cello and piano, with an optional part for electric guitar, was commissioned by cellist Audrey Riley, and the optional guitar part is for James Woodrow who has been a member of my ensemble for ten years and whose playing I love.

Over the last year or so I have begun to write a number of pieces for unaccompanied voice based on the texts and format of the "lauda", a large collection of which appears in a manuscript collection from 13th century Cortona. These were quasi-religious (but non-liturgical) songs which were performed outside churches and in other public places.  In setting these texts  I do not imitate the style of the original but rather the spirit and form. As these were in my mind at the time I wrote this piece I modified the form - adding accompaniment, parallel lines and so on - while attempting to retain the purity and austerity of the original.

This version for solo viola was written for a performance in Valencia in 2003 and was revised for a subsequent performance in Bolzano.

 



For three sopranos, bass clarinet, double bass
Duration 4’
Recorded by Trio Mediaeval, Roger Heaton and Gavin Bryars for broadcast on Swedish TV (for Christmas Day)

Note : Text of Lauda 30 "Stella nuova"

Text of Lauda 30 "Stella nuova"

Stella nuova'n fra la gente            New star which newly appeared

k'aparuisti novamente                  amongst humankind

 

Stella k'apparist'al mundo            The star which appeared to the earth

quando naqque'l re iocondo,         when the joy-bringing King was born,

stett'e(n) meçço a tutto'l mondo   stood in the centre of the whole world

per aluminar la gente.                  to give light to the people.

 

Stella nuova'n fra la gente            New star which newly appeared

k'aparuisti novamente                  amongst humankind

 

Le tre Magi l'abber veduto,           The three wise men saw it,

tosto l'ebber cognosciuto;            and immediately recognised it;

diser: "Nat'è lo saluto                  they said: "Our salvation is born,

Dio padre omnipotente."              God the Father almighty."

 

Stella nuova'n fra la gente            New star which newly appeared

k'aparuisti novamente                  amongst humankind

 

Ciaschedun col suo reame            Each one of them, with his kingdom,

sì lo prese a seguitare                  set off to follow the star

co'ricc' offerte da laudare,            with rich offerings to give him praise,

la qual fo molt'avenente.              which was most excellent.

 

Stella nuova'n fra la gente            New star which newly appeared

k'aparuisti novamente                  amongst humankind



Male Choir
Duration 4’
First performance Estonia Symphony Hall, Tallinn April 6
Estonian National Male Choir, conductor Kaspars Putnins

Note : Text of Lauda 31 "Ogn'om canti

Text of Lauda 31 "Ogn'om canti

Ogn'om canti novel canto a san Iovanni,            Let everyone sing a new song to Saint John,

aulente fiore.                                                   the fragrant flower.

 

O Iovanni, fresc'aurora,                                    O John, new dawn,

molt'eri garçone alora                                       you were just a humble servant-boy

quando Cristo cum gran cura                             when Christ with great care

apostolo te fece e pastore.                                made you his apostle and pastor.

 

Ogn'om canti novel canto a san Iovanni,            Let everyone sing a new song to Saint John,

aulente fiore.                                                   the fragrant flower.

 

O Giovanni amor dilecto,                                  O John, the beloved disciple,

Cristo a te se fece lecto                                    Christ made his bed with you

quando li dormist'in pecto                                when he slept in your arms

nella cena de l'amòre.                                      at the banquet of love.

 

Ogn'om canti novel canto a san Iovanni,            Let everyone sing a new song to Saint John,

aulente fiore.                                                   the fragrant flower.

 

La verità questo dice:                                       The truth speaks thus:

la sua madre, tu' la fece;                                  his own mother he made yours;

a lie' te lassò'n sua vece                                   he left you to care for her in his place,

en sulla cena de la morte.                                 even at the banquet of death.

 

Ogn'om canti novel canto a san Iovanni,            Let everyone sing a new song to Saint John,

aulente fiore.                                                   the fragrant flower.



Male Choir
Duration 4’
First performance Estonia Symphony Hall, Tallinn April 6
Estonian National Male Choir, conductor Kaspars Putnins

Note : Text of Lauda 32 "Omne homo"

Text of Lauda 32 "Omne homo"

Omne homo ad alta voce             Let all mankind with loud voice

laudi la verace croce.                   praise the true cross.

 

Quanto è digna da laudare,          How worthy it is of praise

core no lo pò pensare,                  no heart can imagine,

lengua non lo pò contare,             no tongue can recite:

la verace sancta croce.                 the true, holy cross.

 

Omne homo ad alta voce              Let all mankind with loud voice

laudi la verace croce.                    praise the true cross.

 

La sua madre cum dolore              His own mother with grief

kiama e dice: "Dolçe amore,          called out and said: "Sweet love,

oimè, fillio e signore,                     alas, my Son and Lord,

perké fosti posto in cruce?"            why were you hung on the cross?"

 

Omne homo ad alta voce                Let all mankind with loud voice

laudi la verace croce.                      praise the true cross.

 

Dice Cristo: "O madre mia,             Christ replied: "O my mother,

quest' è l'obediença mia:                this is my act of obedience:

ke se compia in questa dia             on this day

k'io moia nella croce."                    I must die upon the cross."

 

Omne homo ad alta voce                Let all mankind with loud voice

laudi la verace croce.                      praise the true cross.