Views
2 months ago

Michael Berkeley 2018 All works

Piano Trio Piano,

Piano Trio Piano, violin, & cello 9780193554795 Unlike most of the classical trios this is in a single movement in three distinct sections; basically, fast-slow-fast. The piece opens with a solemn, scene-setting glissando across the bottom strings of the piano. The work’s development is fairly easy to follow since the first phrases on which everything else is based are simple and easily recognizable. The melodies tend to be modal and show a certain rhythmic impetuosity which carries the music continuously forward. 17 minutes Rain Tenor, violin, & cello Conductor’s score and parts on hire/rental 9780193465213 Setting a poem by Edward Thomas, the violin and cello accompaniment use extended techniques to represent the sound of rain to great effect. 8 minutes Re-Inventions Wind quintet (fl., ob. + c.a., cl. + b.cl., hn, bn) Conductor’s score and parts on hire/rental 9780193555242 A skilful arrangement of four of Bach’s keyboard Inventions, each separated by a short meditation for one or two of the instruments which link the work into a continuous whole. 12 minutes Seven Chamber ensemble (seven players) 9780193359963 Seven is founded on the further elaboration of a simple phrase used in Second Still Life. As the number 2 is significant in that piece, the number 7 is prevalent throughout Seven: the work is for seven players and is seven minutes in duration. 7 minutes Shooting stars Symphonic wind ensemble Conductor’s score and parts on hire/rental 9780193356153 The composer describes this short piece for symphonic wind ensemble as having ‘a feel of the fair ground, or bright lights, and of being jostled’, and recalls childhood days in the shooting gallery when the targets were placed at the centre of a star. Having witnessed a star flying across the night sky whilst he was working on the piece, and since this short piece for symphonic wind can act as a prelude to the more substantial Slow Dawn, he chose the title Shooting Stars. 4 minutes Slow Dawn Wind band Conductor’s score and parts on hire/rental 9780193356146 Slow Dawn is a gentle and evocative piece for wind band. Berkeley depicts the gradual appearance of the sun (in the form of the tuba), ‘shafts of light and playful reflections’ which accompany the increasing warmth of day, the ‘music of midday’ suggesting ‘the savage anger of heat in foreign climes with stabbing beams of light’, and the final descent of the sun at the end of the day. 9 minutes String Quartet No. 2 String quartet Score 9780193554986 Set of parts 9780193412354 Berkeley’s second string quartet uses a free, random presentation of thematic material. There is a sharp contrast between the tight and rhythmic central section and the final passage which dispenses with barlines altogether, providing a fascinating journey through interrelated and continuous sections. 18 minutes String Trio Violin, viola, & cello Score 9780193554801 Set of parts 9780193554818 This two movement work is dedicated to Richard Rodney Bennett, at one time Michael Berkeley’s composition teacher. A three bar theme introduces the first movement which is worked almost entirely in step-by-step crotchets. The Allegro that follows is more spiky and angular but has a lyrical central passage in 3/8. 15 minutes Torque and Velocity String quartet Conductor’s score and parts on hire/rental 9780193556546 This is Michael Berkeley’s fifth composition for string quartet. Berkeley says that it was the Takács Quartet’s special qualities of ‘exhilarating vigour coupled to innate musicianship, as exemplified in their playing of the Bartók quartets, which helped dictate the nature of the piece’. 15 minutes Touch her soft lips and part (Walton arr. Berkeley) String octet 9780193359697 Originally part of Walton’s film score to Henry V composed in 1943, Touch her soft lips and part has been taken from the original string version and arranged beautifully by Michael Berkeley for a smaller ensemble. 2.5 minutes

Winter Fragments Voice & chamber ensemble (fl. (+picc.), ob. (+c.a.), cl. (+b. cl.), hp, vln, vla, vc) Conductor’s score and parts on hire/rental 9780193556522 Seven setting of poems on the theme of winter. ‘The double meaning title of these pieces came naturally, partly because I was at that time considering an opera project based on Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, partly because the music was largely written in a frozen Welsh landscape, and partly because I wanted to write short, spare pieces that combine to create an overall aspect of winter. - Michael Berkeley Winter Fragments was first performed by the Nash Ensemble, Jean Rigby, and Thomas Adès on 5th March, 1995 at The Purcell Room, London. 19 minutes - String Orchestra - Coronach String orchestra Conductor’s score and parts on hire/rental 9780193620261 Coronach is a Scottish highland lament. This piece belongs to a group of pieces written by Berkeley in the late 1980s which explore the complex emotions of grief, rage, and anger. (The other pieces are Fierce Tears I and II and Keening.) This rhythmic piece is an ideal work for advanced young string groups. Commissioned by the 1988 Prestiegne Festival. 13 minutes Gethsemani Fragment String orchestra Conductor’s score and parts on hire/rental 9780193620544 Based on the biblical passage of the Garden of Gethsemane. ‘My piece, while abstract rather than programmatic, simply attempts to capture a brief glimpse of the gnawing and nagging doubts racing through the mind of Christ. One does not, I think, have to be religious to identify with this touching moment.’ - Michael Berkeley 10 minutes Glass Tears Shakuhachi, two kotos, & string orchestra Conductor’s score and parts on hire/rental 9780193555297 ‘The shakuhachi (bamboo flute) has intrigued me for many years and in particular its breathy, almost human quality. The koto on the other hand seems to combine aspects of the harp, zither, harpsichord and cimbalom and is capable of adding a metallic glint to the texture. Bringing these contrasting colours together with a string orchestra was a fascinating challenge compounded by my decision to write a piece that was not simply contemplative, which the shakuhachi might initially suggest, but contrasting in both mood and tempi.’ - Michael Berkeley Meditations String orchestra Conductor’s score and parts on hire/rental 9780193620278 Meditations is Michael Berkeley’s first acknowledged orchestral work. It was written at the beginning of 1975 and was the work that led to Berkeley, a late developer as a composer, doing post graduate studies with Richard Rodney Bennett. The piece is called Meditations because its atmosphere is essentially contemplative, though the nature of the subject is far from being continuously passive. Another reason for the title is the inspiration behind the thematic material - though the actual melodies are original, they use rhythmic and melodic patterns suggested by Gregorian chant which Berkeley sang every day as a chorister at Westminster Cathedral. 14 minutes Suite: Vision of Piers Ploughman Two horns, percussion, piano, & string orchestra Conductor’s score and parts on hire/rental 9780193620414 - Strife - The Vision - Pier’s Theme - This three-movement work is based on the Medieval allegorical tale of Piers Plowman. 12 minutes - Chamber orchestra - Fantasia Concertante Chamber orchestra (fl. (+picc.), 2 ob. (II+c.a.), 2 bn, 2 hn, strings) Conductor’s score and parts on hire/rental 9780193620254 This work was commissioned as a result of the 1977 Guinness Prize for Composition and first performed on March 5th 1978 at the Wembley Conference Centre by the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Mark Elder. 21 minutes The Romance of the Rose Chamber orchestra (fl. (+picc.), ob., cl, bn, hn, strings) Conductor’s score and parts on hire/rental 9780193620568 Score and parts available to buy from Goodmusic Taking the form of a theme and variations, The Romance of the Rose was written for a BBC radio dramatisation of the early French poem, ‘Romaut de la Rose’, and is a re-enactment in musical terms of the gestures and rituals of courtly love. 12 minutes 15 minutes