As dreams are made on

This piece for piano was written as part of an induction project with postgrad composers and pianists at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, which involved a series of pieces performed as a sequence based around Chopin’s B major Nocturne, Op. 32 No. 1. My piece, which is the penultimate in the sequence, acts sort of like a recapitulation, beginning and ending with an ‘exploded’ version of the opening bars of the piece, and quoting a cadential figure in the middle, with some added dissonance in the bass.

The Chopinesque figures in the right hand drift between the mood of the original Nocturne and a kind of cocktail piano style, while the ‘Pink Panther’ triplet figures in the middle section swagger around the bottom half of the piano.

Thanks to Abigail Sin for her wonderful playing.

Firing Canons

This is a string quartet piece I wrote last year. It’s all based on a simple eight-note motif that spirals out chromatically from a central note, like this:

The central idea of the piece is the 7/8 ‘riff’ section which appears twice; at the end it sort of disintegrates, breaking down into smaller gestures which flit across the ensemble. I had this image of gears grinding against each other, cogs slipping suddenly then halting again.

Recorded in Pembroke Chapel, 23 April 2009 by Fra Rustumji, Rebecca Minio-Paluello, Peter Mallinson and Peter Matthews.

Voices, Crackles

This piece for violin, cello, piano and pre-recorded electronics has gone through various iterations to reach it’s present form. I wanted to explore ‘pastness’ in old records and wireless recordings, not only the other-ness of accents and conversations which sound almost like another world, but the way in which radio hiss and record crackle modify and mask the voices.

The electronics part is a montage of samples taken from recordings from the British Library sound archive (, including language-teaching records, speeches, folksong recordings on wax cylinders, interviews and poetry readings. The instruments, meanwhile, echo sections of melodies almost like recollecting long-forgotten tunes, and at other times mimic record crackle or sounds of radios tuning, further masking and modulating the sounds of the electronics.

Thanks to Rachel Evans (violin) and Yingxin Jiang (cello) for their wonderful playing. 🙂

Three lines from Comus

A piece for chamber orchestra – the titles come from the poem ‘Comus’ by John Milton and if you look hard enough you can probably find links from the titles to the music contained therein.

This was all rehearsed and recorded in a two-hour session in Pembroke antechapel – massive thanks to all the players for getting to grips with it all so quickly, you were all brilliant!

1. “In a light fantastic round”

2. “He call’d it Hæmony”

3. “Higher than the spheary clime”

Desk Cantus

This came about as a result of playing around with sounds from stuff on my desk – a pasta bowl (somewhat pesto-y) and fork, an anglepoise desk lamp, a trumpet mute, some keys, my phone. I was experimenting with using very short samples to make glitch-y microbeats and looping them to make longer notes. It all goes a bit crazy halfway through and then goes back to the glitchtastic beginning.