My Recent Compositions

Over the last year I have been working, amongst other things, on two orchestral compositions: Symphony No.9 and Piano Concerto No.2.  The symphony was finished last autumn and is in 3 movements lasting about 46 minutes.  It has a tonal centre around C# minor and has two driving outer movements with a theme and variations in between.  There is no programme to the music and I haven't decided who to dedicate it to yet.  It certainly packs a punch and uses a large orchestra with triple winds and an additional trumpet.
The piano concerto is still in progress - I hope to finish before this summer (2013).  It is quite unusual in that the small orchestra dispenses with the normal woodwind section in favour of a quintet of recorders.  They are placed in front of the piano soloist so as to help with balance.  2 horns, harp, tuned percussion and strings make up the rest of the orchestra.  The instruments allow for some very strange colours and interactions.  The piano part is quite transparent and light in texture, in complete contrast to the Mephisto Concerto (Piano Concerto No.1).

What else?  Well I have composed the first 10 numbers in The Tooting Choirbook.  The pieces are all motets for a capella choir, choir and organ or choir and trombones.  So far the languages set are Latin and English, although I have a setting in my head of the Lord's Prayer in Gothic; this being for the Arian Congregation of South Tooting.

Language fascinates me generally, so much so that an article in the online Gramaphone magazine by James McCarthy has goaded me into writing an opera in Klingon.  This is now about half finished and is a non-scored work.  All the music is performed by myself and mixed together.  I am using instruments mainly from China and India but also taking an objet trouv√© approach to sounds.  So a homemade glass harmonica is there along with modified saucepan lids and a quarter tone music box.  The singing parts are all done by myself and I am using some pretty strange methods of vocal production drawn from such influences as throat singing and the Karelan fire chant of India.  And yes, it really is in Klingon.  I hope trekkies don't baulk at my accent; I am of course using an ancient dialect....

DHJ - 22.iii.2013