Small ensemble

Works listed in reverse chronological order (most recent first) in each category

Two instruments .

Michelangelo Ground (2015)

for two bass viols

Duration: c. 4 minutes

Full score here

A ground for two bass viols based on musical material from the stage work Michelangelo Drawing Blood 

Dedicated to Ibrahim Abiz and Sam Stadlen, who first performed work.

First performed by Touché at School of Economic Science, London on 21 January 2015 with Ibrahim Aziz and Sam Stadlen (bass viols)

21.01.15LONDONSchool of Economic ScienceTouché

Orishas Canto (2004)

piano, percussion and backing track

Duration: c. 6 minutes

Full score here

First performed by Raw Goods at Chapter Theatre, Cardiff on 8 April 2004

08.04.04CARDIFFChapter Arts CentreRaw Goods
11.04.04LONDONThe SpaceRaw Goods
13.04.04SWANSEABrangwyn HallRaw Goods
14.04.04HARLECHTheatr ArdudwyRaw Goods
15.04.04RUTHINCanolfan GlyndwrRaw Goods
16.04.04HOLYHEADUcheldre CentreRaw Goods
17.04.04MACHYNLLETHY TabernaclRaw Goods
19.05.05CARDIFFGate Arts CentreRaw Goods
20.05.05PONTARDAWEArts CentreRaw Goods
21.05.05ABERTILLERYCommunity TheatreRaw Goods
03.06.05HOLYHEADUcheldre CentreRaw Goods
04.06.05CAERNARFONGaleriRaw Goods
22.09.06CARDIFFGate Arts CentreRaw Goods
23.09.06BLACKWOODMiners InstituteRaw Goods
28.09.06PONTARDAWEArts CentreRaw Goods
30.09.06HOLYHEADUcheldre CentreRaw Goods
04.10.06ST ASAPHArts CentreRaw Goods
05.10.06ABERYSTWYTHArts CentreRaw Goods
10.10.06NEWTOWNTheatr HafrenRaw Goods
11.10.06LONDONThe SpaceRaw Goods
12.10.06TAUNTONThe BrewhouseRaw Goods
13.10.06DARTMOUTHThe FlavelRaw Goods
14.10.06FALMOUTHArts CentreRaw Goods
12.07.07LINCOLNTerry O’Toole TheatreRaw Goods

Organum (1997)

piano and vibraphone

Duration: 10 minutes

Full score here

First performed by Raw Goods at Chapter Theatre, Cardiff on 19 May 1998

19.05.98CARDIFFChapter TheatreSound Affairs
21.05.98LONDONRoyal Festival Hall, Purcell RoomSound Affairs
23.05.98SWANSEATaliesin Arts CentreSound Affairs
07.10.98 ROTTERDAMLantaren / VensterSound Affairs
12.06.99BARCELONAMarató de l’EspectacleSound Affairs

Incandanza (1997)

for flute and guitar

Duration: 8 minutes

Commissioned by The Umbrella Collection with funds provided by the Arts Council of Wales
First performed by Lynne Plowman (flute) and Sally Hillier (guitar) at the Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay on 25 November 1997

Written for flute/guitar duo Lynne Plowman and Sally Hillier, Incandanza is an exploration of the panpipe and guitar music of the Andes – the repeated note phrases typical of panpipes with a harmonic and rhythmic structure borrowed from Spanish flamenco.

25.11.97CARDIFF Norwegian ChurchUmbrella Collection

EX (1979)                                                                                  

pno, perc

Duration: 10 minutes

Full score here

Commissioned by Extemporary Dance Theatre with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain
First performed by the New Arts Consort at Chapter Theatre, Cardiff on 11 April 1980
with Kelvin Leslie (piano), Jeffery Wilson (percussion)

Revised version first performed by Simon Limbrick and Noriko Kawai at Leighton House, London, 5 March 1982

11.04.80 CARDIFFChapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
12.04.80CARDIFFChapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
16.04.80HARLECHTheatr ArdudwyNew Arts Consort
17.04.80BUILTH WELLSWyeside Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
21.08.81CARDIFFChapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
26.08.81EDINBURGHChaplaincy Centre (Fringe Festival)New Arts Consort
29.08.81EDINBURGHChaplaincy Centre (Fringe Festival)New Arts Consort
05.03.82LONDONLeighton HouseLimbrick, Kawai
27.03.82LONDONOld Half Moon TheatreLimbrick, Kawai
28.03.82LONDONOld Half Moon TheatreLimbrick, Kawai

Concertante for Percussion and Harpsichord (1978)

perc, hpd

Duration: 8 minutes

Commissioned by Peter Cobb with funds provided by the Welsh Arts Council
First performed by the New Arts Consort at the Sherman Arena Theatre, Cardiff on 24 May 1978
with Peter Cobb (percussion), Gavin Hibbs (harpsichord)

24.05.78 CARDIFF Sherman TheatreNew Arts Consort
25.05.78CARDIFF Sherman TheatreNew Arts Consort
26.05.78CARDIFF Sherman TheatreNew Arts Consort
09.06.78  CARDIFF Chapter TheatreNew Arts Consort

Three instruments

Baroque Sonatas Remix (2014)

pno, vln, vcl

Duration: c. 10 minutes

Full score here

Three studies based on musical material from the keyboard sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti (1685 – 1757)

1. Allegro The first movement explores a sequence of chords changing through an isorhythmic pattern and is based on two fragments from Sonata in B minor, K. 27

2. Andante A study of binary form, in expanding and contracting sections, based on the melodic phrases and harmonic sequence from the first 4 bars of Sonata in E minor, K. 81

3. Vivace A rhythmic study in 13/8 based on material from Sonata in F minor, K. 555

First performed at O / Modernt Festival, Stockholm on 13 June 2015 with Johannes Marmén (violin), Hanna Dahlkvist (cello) and Henrik Måwe (piano)

13.06.15STOCKHOLMO / Modernt FestivalMarmén, Dahlkvist, Måwe

Four instruments

Organum (1997)

Duration: 8 minutes

Commissioned by the Vale of Glamorgan Festival with funds provided by the Arts Council of Wales
First performed by the Apollo Saxophone Quartet at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival in the Tythe Barn, St Donats Arts Centre on 6 September 1997

06.09.97ST DONATSVale of Glamorgan FestivalApollo Sax Qrt

No Marks For Industrial Reporting (1984)

Text and video by Martin Wilson

pno, e pno, 2 perc

Duration: 8 minutes

First performed by the New Arts Consort at Chapter Theatre, Cardiff on 4 May 1984
with Lucy Wilson (piano), Glyn Perrin (electric piano), Dominic Hackett (percussion), Jeffery Wilson (percussion)

04.05.84 CARDIFFChapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
05.05.84CARDIFFChapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
15.05.84COVENTRYWarwick University Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
16.05.84HEANORSouth East Derbyshire CollegeNew Arts Consort
17.05.84BLACKBURNSchool of ArtNew Arts Consort
18.05.84STOCKTONDovecot Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
20.05.84DURHAMTrevelyan CollegeNew Arts Consort
21.05.84HULLSpring Street TheatreNew Arts Consort
22.05.84BARNSLEYNorthern CollegeNew Arts Consort
23.05.84NOTTINGHAMMidland GroupNew Arts Consort
24.05.84OXFORDMuseum of Modern ArtNew Arts Consort
25.05.84BRISTOLArnolfiniNew Arts Consort
26.05.84LONDONAir GalleryNew Arts Consort

A Forest in Full Flower (1984)

ob, pno, perc, vcl

Duration: 8 minutes

An extract from the theatre / performance piece Punishment by Roses based on the life of Japanese writer and activist Yukio Mishima. A Forest in Full Flower includes video by Mike Stubbs reconstructing Mishima’s own photoshoot re-enactment of the Martyrdom of St Sebastian painted in 1616 by Italian artist Guido Reni.

Revised version first performed by the New Arts Consort at Chapter Theatre, Cardiff on 4 May 1984
with Jeffery Wilson (soprano sax), Lucy Wilson (piano), Dominic Hackett (percussion), Glyn Perrin (cello)

04.05.84 CARDIFFChapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
05.05.84CARDIFFChapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
15.05.84COVENTRYWarwick University Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
16.05.84HEANORSouth East Derbyshire CollegeNew Arts Consort
17.05.84BLACKBURNSchool of ArtNew Arts Consort
18.05.84STOCKTONDovecot Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
20.05.84DURHAMTrevelyan CollegeNew Arts Consort
21.05.84HULLSpring Street TheatreNew Arts Consort
22.05.84BARNSLEYNorthern CollegeNew Arts Consort
23.05.84NOTTINGHAMMidland GroupNew Arts Consort
24.05.84OXFORDMuseum of Modern ArtNew Arts Consort
25.05.84BRISTOLArnolfiniNew Arts Consort
26.05.84LONDONAir GalleryNew Arts Consort

Recitative + Aria (1983)                                 

s sax (or cl), vcl, pno, portable organ (or harmonium)

Duration: 4 minutes

Full score here

Recitative + Aria is the first piece to merge from Barber’s preoccupation with the music of Gluck. In this work, the recitative no longer precedes the aria. Instead, two different recitatives (piano and organ) and two different arias (cello and soprano saxophone) are played simultaneously. The materials and sounds remain the same throughout, but their interaction is such that the perspective in which we view them constantly changes. (Peter Reynolds)

First performed by the New Arts Consort at Chapter Theatre, Cardiff on 4 May 1984
with Jeffery Wilson (clarinet), Glyn Perrin (cello), Lucy Wilson (piano), Dominic Hackett (harmonium)

04.05.84 CARDIFFChapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
05.05.84CARDIFFChapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
15.05.84COVENTRYWarwick University Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
16.05.84HEANORSouth East Derbyshire CollegeNew Arts Consort
17.05.84BLACKBURNSchool of ArtNew Arts Consort
18.05.84STOCKTONDovecot Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
20.05.84DURHAMTrevelyan CollegeNew Arts Consort
21.05.84HULLSpring Street TheatreNew Arts Consort
22.05.84BARNSLEYNorthern CollegeNew Arts Consort
23.05.84NOTTINGHAMMidland GroupNew Arts Consort
24.05.84OXFORDMuseum of Modern ArtNew Arts Consort
25.05.84BRISTOLArnolfiniNew Arts Consort
26.05.84LONDONAir GalleryNew Arts Consort

Guajira (1981)

pno, perc, vcl, e bass gtr/db

Duration: 8 minutes

Commissioned by Tamara McLorg with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain

Taking its title from a popular Cuban song style, Guajia juxtaposes African rhythms against melodic material from Spanish sources.

First performed (in concert version) by the New Arts Consort at Chapter Theatre on 21 August 1981
with Noriko Kawai (piano), Simon Limbrick (percussion), William Bruce (cello), Neil Watson (basses)

21.08.81CARDIFFChapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
21.02.82LONDONBattersea Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
22.02.82BUILTH WELLS Wyeside Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
23.02.82RISCACrosskeys CollegeNew Arts Consort
24.02.82CARDIFFSherman Arena TheatreNew Arts Consort
25.02.82CARDIFFSherman Arena TheatreNew Arts Consort
03.03.83CARDIFFChapter Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
05.03.83NORWICHPremises Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
06.03.83BOSTONBlackfriars TheatreNew Arts Consort
07.03.83BIRMINGHAMThe TriangleNew Arts Consort
08.03.83BIRMINGHAMThe TriangleNew Arts Consort
09.03.83LEEDTrinity and All Saints’ CollegeNew Arts Consort
10.03.83WAKEFIELDBretton Hall CollegeNew Arts Consort
11.03.83SUNDERLANDPolytechnicNew Arts Consort
13.03.83STOCKTONDovecot Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
14.03.83ILKLEYCollegeNew Arts Consort
15.03.83CHESTERFIELDCollege of Art & DesignNew Arts Consort
16.03.83NOTTINGHAMMidland GroupNew Arts Consort
17.03.83LEICESTERPhoenix Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
18.03.83SWINDONThamesdown StudioNew Arts Consort
19.03.83LONDONAlmeida TheatreNew Arts Consort
07.11.88 CARDIFFFour Bars InnNew Arts Consort
16.01.89CARDIFFWelsh College of Music & DramaNew Arts Consort
20.01.89 ALSAGERCrewe & Alsager CollegeNew Arts Consort
20.08.89BRECONJazz FestivalNew Arts Consort

El Puerto Ricercare (1980)                                                   

vcl, pno, 2 perc

Duration: 10 minutes

Commissioned by Chapter, Cardiff with funds provided by the Welsh Arts Council

The work is in memorium of Angel Rodriguez Cristobel, an active member of the Puerto Rican Socialist League who was jailed and subsequently murdered it is believed, after taking part in a protest calling for an end to US military operations.

First performed by the New Arts Consort at Chapter Theatre, Cardiff on 7 September 1980
with Noriko Kawai (piano), Simon Limbrick, Nicholas Ormerod & Jeffery Wilson (percussion)

First performance of revised version performed at Chapter Theatre, Cardiff on 4 May 1984
with Glyn Perrin (cello), Lucy Wilson (piano), Clive Malabar (percussion), Jeffery Wilson (percussion)

07.09.80CARDIFFChapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
12.09.80BATHSt James’ TheatreNew Arts Consort
21.02.82LONDONBattersea Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
22.02.82BUILTH WELLSWyeside Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
23.02.82RISCACrosskeys CollegeNew Arts Consort
24.02.82CARDIFFSherman Arena TheatreNew Arts Consort
25.02.82CARDIFFSherman Arena TheatreNew Arts Consort
04.05.84CARDIFF Chapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
05.05.84CARDIFF Chapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
15.05.84COVENTRYWarwick University Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
16.05.84HEANORSouth East Derbyshire CollegeNew Arts Consort
17.05.84BLACKBURNSchool of ArtNew Arts Consort
18.05.84STOCKTONDovecot Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
20.05.84DURHAMTrevelyan CollegeNew Arts Consort
21.05.84HULLSpring Street TheatreNew Arts Consort
22.05.84BARNSLEYNorthern CollegeNew Arts Consort
23.05.84NOTTINGHAMMidland GroupNew Arts Consort
24.05.84OXFORDMuseum of Modern ArtNew Arts Consort
25.05.84 BRISTOLArnolfiniNew Arts Consort
26.05.84LONDONAir GalleryNew Arts Consort
17.02.86LONDONThe Place TheatreSPNM
20.10.88CARDIFFWelsh College of Music & DramaNew Arts Consort
07.11.88 CARDIFFFour Bars InnNew Arts Consort
16.01.89CARDIFFWelsh College of Music & DramaNew Arts Consort
20.01.89ALSAGERCrewe & Alsager CollegeNew Arts Consort

Evening Notes (1979)                                                                 

ob, vcl, pno, perc

Duration: 15 minutes

First performed by the New Arts Consort at Chapter Theatre, Cardiff on 26 September 1979
with Steve Watts (oboe), Naomi Turner (cello), Kelvin Leslie (piano), Jeffery Wilson (percussion)

26.09.79CARDIFFChapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
11.10.79CARDIFFSherman Arena TheatreNew Arts Consort
12.10.79LONDON Jackson’s LaneNew Arts Consort
21.08.81CARDIFFChapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
26.08.81EDINBURGHChaplaincy Centre (Fringe Festival)New Arts Consort
29.08.81EDINBURGHChaplaincy Centre (Fringe Festival) New Arts Consort

String quartet

Boulevard of Broken Dreams Revisited (2017)

String quartet and backing track

Duration: c. 20 minutes

Full score here

First performed by the Mavron Quartet at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff on 16 November 2019.

16.11.19CARDIFFWales Millennium CentreMavron Quartet

Baroque Sonatas (2014)

String quartet

Duration: c. 10 minutes

Three studies based on musical material from the keyboard sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti (1685 – 1757)

1. Allegro The first movement explores a sequence of chords changing through an isorhythmic pattern and is based on two fragments from Sonata in B minor, K. 27

2. Andante A study of binary form, in expanding and contracting sections, based on the melodic phrases and harmonic sequence from the first 4 bars of Sonata in E minor, K. 81

3. Vivace A rhythmic study in 13/8 based on material from Sonata in F minor, K. 555

First performed by Mavron String Quartet at The Gate, Cardiff on 2 July 2015 with Christiana Mavron and Katy Rowe (violins), Niamh Ferris (viola), Beatrice Newman (cello)

02.07.15CARDIFFThe GateMavron Quartet
15.07.15LOUGHBOROUGHTown HallMavron Quartet

Samba Round (1994)

for string quartet

Duration: 5 minutes

First performed by the Bingham String Quartet at Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan on 30 September 1996

30.09.96CARDIGAN Theatr MwldanBingham Qrt
25.03.99LONDONRFH Purcell RoomCB + Band
26.03.99NARBERTHQueen’s HallCB + Band
27.03.99SWANSEATaliesin Arts CentreCB + Band

Five instruments

Organum (2003)

soprano saxophone and string quartet

Duration: 5 minutes

First performed by Entr’acte at St Peter’s Church, Fishguard on 21 March 2003

21.03.03FISHGUARDSt Peter’s ChurchEntr’acte
22.03.03ABERGAVENNYOur Lady & St Michael’s ChurchEntr’acte
25.03.03CARDIFFCity United Reformed ChurchEntr’acte
26.03.03MACHYNLLETHY Tabernacl Entr’acte
27.03.03LAMPETERSt Peter’s ChurchEntr’acte
28.03.03BRECONCathedralEntr’acte
29.03.03SWANSEASt Mary’s ChurchEntr’acte

Samba Round (1994)

soprano saxophone and string quartet

Duration: 5 minutes

First performed by Entr’acte at the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, Cardiff on 26 April 2001

26.04.01CARDIFFNorwegian Church Arts CentreEntr’acte
27.04.01ABERGAVENNY Melville Theatre, Drama CentreEntr’acte
28.04.01PONTARDAWEArts CentreEntr’acte
03.05.01FISHGUARDTheatr GwaunEntr’acte
04.05.01NEWTOWN Theatr HafrenEntr’acte
01.09.01SAN JOSÉ Tapestry Arts Festival, CaliforniaEntr’acte
02.09.01SAN JOSÉ Tapestry Arts Festival, CaliforniaEntr’acte
03.09.01SAN JOSÉ Tapestry Arts Festival, CaliforniaEntr’acte

False Steps (1982)

ob, pno, perc, vcl, db

Duration: 10 minutes

Full score here

Commissioned by Lynx Dance Company with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain

The ‘systems’ work is palindromic in its rhythmic content as well as the overall structure. The opening and closing sections contain mirror themes of different lengths for each instrument, with the oboe theme forming the basis of the material for the central section.

First performed (in concert version) by the New Arts Consort at Chapter Theatre, Cardiff on 3 March 1983
with Juliet Abbott (oboe), Andrew Poppy (piano), Clive Malabar (percussion), Janet Reed (cello), Ivor Hodgson (double bass)

Revised 1987 version first performed by the New Arts Consort at Theatr Hafren, Newtown on 5 November 1987

03.03.83CARDIFFChapter Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
05.03.83NORWICHPremises Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
06.03.83BOSTONBlackfriars TheatreNew Arts Consort
07.03.83BIRMINGHAMThe TriangleNew Arts Consort
08.03.83BIRMINGHAMThe TriangleNew Arts Consort
09.03.83LEEDSTrinity and All Saints’ CollegeNew Arts Consort
10.03.83WAKEFIELDBretton Hall CollegeNew Arts Consort
11.03.83SUNDERLANDPolytechnicNew Arts Consort
13.03.83STOCKTONDovecot Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
14.03.83ILKLEYCollegeNew Arts Consort
15.03.83CHESTERFIELDCollege of Art & DesignNew Arts Consort
16.03.83NOTTINGHAMMidland GroupNew Arts Consort
17.03.83LEICESTERPhoenix Arts CentreNew Arts Consort
18.03.83SWINDONThamesdown StudioNew Arts Consort
19.03.83LONDONAlmeida TheatreNew Arts Consort
05.11.87NEWTOWNTheatr HafrenNew Arts Consort
07.11.87CARDIFFChapter TheatreNew Arts Consort
11.11.87BRISTOLArnolfiniNew Arts Consort
07.11.88CARDIFFFour Bars InnNew Arts Consort
16.01.89CARDIFFWelsh College of Music & DramaNew Arts Consort
20.01.89ALSAGERCrewe & Alsager CollegeNew Arts Consort

Six instruments

Jaliya (2010)

b cl, 2 perc, pno, vla, db

Duration: 6 minutes

Jaliya meaning ‘music of the Jalis’, refers to the hereditary musicians, or ‘jalis’, of north west Africa whose vocal and instrumental music inspired the present work. The score of Jaliya combines elements of the ‘kora’ (African harp) technique and the Islamic influenced vocal characteristics with traditional African drumming patterns.

First performed by Sound Affairs at Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen on 14 October 2010
with David Jean-Baptiste (bass clarinet), Sacha Johnson (percussion), Jonathan Helm (percussion), Semra Kurutaç (piano), Niamh Ferris (viola) and Ashley John Long (double bass) and Seckou Keita (kora)

14.10.10CARMARTHENLyric TheatreSound Affairs
15.10.10CARDIFFUniversity Concert HallSound Affairs
16.10.10SWANSEATaliesin Arts CentreSound Affairs
20.10.10MOLDClwyd Theatr CymruSound Affairs
21.10.10PWLLHELINeuadd DwyforSound Affairs
22.10.10HOLYHEADUcheldre CentreSound Affairs
25.10.10LONDONSouthbank Centre, Purcell RoomSound Affairs
27.10.10MALVERNTheatresSound Affairs
28.10.10BROMSGROVEArtrixSound Affairs
30.10.10COLCHESTERLakeside TheatreSound Affairs

Kantilan Karangan (1993)

for six pianos

Duration: 4 minutes

Full score here

The title is taken from two Balinese words: ‘kantilan‘ refers to the intricate patterns or ‘flower passages’ in Balinese gamelan, whilst ‘karangan‘ describes a piece of work which is assembled or constructed. The technique of interlocking parts is an important feature of Balinese music, for there are two ‘voices’ that run in counterpoint – two different rhythms, positive and negative, that fit together to form an unbroken swift arabesque. The work was composed in April 1993 for Piano Circus.

First performed by Piano Circus at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival on 29 August 1993

29.08.93ST DONATSVale of Glamorgan FestivalPiano Circus
19.11.93HUDDERSFIELDContemporary Music FestivalPiano Circus
17.09.94TORINOSettembre MusicaPiano Circus
11.11.94LONDONThe Place TheatrePiano Circus
20.05.95ALGARVEFestival Internacional de MúsicaPiano Circus
26.05.95BOURNEMOUTHInternational FestivalPiano Circus
18.10.95HEREFORDCollegePiano Circus
28.10.95NEWCASTLEPlayhousePiano Circus
10.11.95BATHUniversityPiano Circus
21.11.95HUDDERSFIELDContemporary Music FestivalPiano Circus
29.11.95LONDONThe Place TheatrePiano Circus
05.03.96HONG KONGCultural CentrePiano Circus
10.09.98BARRYMemorial Hall, Vale of Glamorgan FestivalPiano Circus

Sons d’Afrique (1993, revised 1995)                      

fl, cl, pno, perc, vln, vcl

Duration: 10 minutes

Commissioned by the Vale of Glamorgan Festival with funds provided by the Arts Council of Wales

Sons d’Afrique is a re-working of traditional songs from the Central African Republic. The first section is based on a harp tune performed by the Nbaka people. The song is associated with rites on the birth of twins and is performed on a large arched ten-string harp. The starting point for the second section is a xylophone pattern from a dance piece in the repertory of the Sabanga people. It is performed on a portable ten-note xylophone which is held in playing position by a strap running around the musician’s neck. The final section is based on sanza music of the Gbaya people. The sanza, or mbira, is an invention peculiar to Africa. Sometimes called a ‘thumb piano’, it consists of a set of metal lamellae of unequal length which are plucked with the thumbs. The main points of interest to me in writing this work were the unusual layout of the pitches in these African instruments as well as the rhythmic content of the music performed on them.

First performed at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival on 27 August 1993
with Kathryn Lucas (flute), David Campbell (clarinet), Andrew Ball (piano), Simon Limbrick (percussion), Madeleine Mitchell (violin) and Christopher Van Kampen (cello)

27.08.93ST DONATSVale of Glamorgan FestivalMadeleine Mitchell
17.08.95ST DONATSVale of Glamorgan FestivalMadeleine Mitchell

Adagio (1985)

fl, cl, hn, hp, vla, vcl

Duration: 8 minutes

Full score here

Adagio explores the role of ornamentation in the 18th century slow movement through the simultaneous articulation of two structural planes. Against a recurring and unvaried harmonic rhythm is set a textural surface which gradually moves from a condition of stasis towards one of extreme ornamental density. However, this ornamentation should not be confused with that of the early 18th century which serves to obscure the underlying structure. Instead Barber emulates the late 18th century practice of employing embellishment to thematic and architectural ends.  (Peter Reynolds)

First performed by Circle at Turner Sims Hall, Southampton University on 11 September 1985
with Nancy Ruffer (flute), Ian Mitchell (clarinet), Stephen Stirling (horn), Sioned Williams (harp), Sally Beamish (viola), Julia Dubruslais (cello) conducted by Gregory Rose
Revised version performed by PM Ensemble at Welsh College of Music & Drama on 2 December 1994

11.09.85SOUTHAMPTONTurner Sims Concert HallCircle
02.12.94CARDIFFWelsh College of Music & DramaPM Ensemble

Copyright © 2021 Charlie Barber. All rights reserved.