Hilary Tann Catalogue


Discover works by Hilary Tann from Oxford University Press.


Hilary Tann



Photo used with permission

Hilary Tann

Welsh-born composer Hilary Tann (b.1947) lives in the

foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New

York where she chairs the Music Department and is

the John Howard Payne Professor at Union College,


Recent composer-residencies include the 2011 Eastman

School of Music Women in Music Festival, 2013 Women

Composers Festival of Hartford, and 2015 Welsh Music

Centre (Tŷ Cerdd). Her work has been supported by

numerous organizations, including the Welsh Arts

Council, New York State Council on the Arts, Hanson

Institute for American Music, Vaughan Williams Trust,

Holst Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and

Meet the Composer / Arts Endowment Commissioning

Music USA.

Praised for its lyricism (“beautiful, lyrical work” – Classical

Music Web) and formal balance (“In the formal balance

of this music, there is great beauty …” – Welsh Music),

her music is influenced by a strong identification with

the natural world. These two interests combine in her

enjoyment of haiku (she is a published haiku poet) and

in text selections from Welsh poets. A deep interest in

the traditional music of Japan has led to private study

of the shakuhachi and guest visits to Japan, Korea, and


Her compositions have been widely performed

and recorded by ensembles such as the European

Women’s Orchestra, Tenebrae, Lontano, Marsyas Trio,

Thai Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC

National Orchestra of Wales, and KBS Philharmonic in

Seoul, Korea.




Cello and orchestra

Score and parts on hire 9780193859548

A soliloquy for cello and full orchestra, Tann was initially

influenced by the poem Anecdote of the Jar by Wallace

Stevens. The cello is ‘surrounded and complemented by the

various orchestral textures (especially those of the central

string quartet).’

14 minutes

The Cresset Stone

Violin or viola

Solo viola 9780193863545

Solo violin 9780193859548

The work is in one movement and is inspired by the

interplay of stone and light in the ancient cathedral of

Brecon, Wales and begins and ends in stillness. The inner

sections contain references to the final Kyrie of an 11thcentury

Gregorian chant.

9 minutes



Score 9780193858473

During the piece a formal, bravura character gradually

dissolves into its more lyrical counterpart. A recording

can by pianist Pola Baytelman can by found on Capstone

Records (CPS 8606 CD).

5.5 minutes



Score 9780193399013

This four-movement suite for organ is based on the

divisions of the church year, and references plainsong and

other hymns relevant to the seasons. Drawing on a wide

range of colours and textures, the composer creates an

evocative and varied suite of pieces, perfectly suited for

both recital and church performance.

15 minutes

First Watch

Solo Instrumental


Score 9780193866379

First Watch was composed for a four-octave concert

carillon which consists of forty-nine bells. It takes as its

inspiration the bell tower of the Albany City Hall carillon

which overlooks the Hudson River in New York. It is the

overwhelming sense of Albany as a canal-, river-, and sea

port which inspired the composition.

7 minutes

Here, the Cliffs

Violin and orchestra

Score and parts on hire 9780193861220

Hilary Tann was inspired to write Here, The Cliffs by Craig

Cerrig-gleisiad, a striking rock formation near her home in

South Wales. The single movement is in a Vivace-Adagio-

Vivace structure, reflecting sunlight and mists.

16 minutes

In the First, Spinning Place

Alto saxophone and piano/full orchestra/wind


Alto saxophone and piano 9780193369108

Score and parts on hire - full orchestra 9780193863057

Score and parts on hire - wind orchestra 9780193409590

In the First, Spinning Place was inspired by Dylan Thomas’s

exuberant poem ‘Fern Hill’. The first section of the concerto

is a light, dancing movement, the second section contains

echoes of Welsh hymnody, and the third section is a fast,

scherzando finale.

12 minutes

Like lightnings


Score 9780193868526

The title is taken from the poem ‘Spring’ by Gerard Manley

Hopkins. Subtitled ‘Pastoral’, the piece moves from

birdsong, to song, and back to birdsong.

6 minutes

Look little low heavens


Score 9780193859319

The piece follows the arch-like shape suggested by ‘low

heavens’ as two flanking, meditative sections surround a

central, soaring fanfare.

7 minutes

Pinnae Ventorum


Score 9780193868533

The inspiration for this joyous organ piece is the Vulgate

phrase “Qui ambulas super pinnas ventorum” translated

as “who walketh upon the wings of the wind” (Psalm

104:3). The “wings of the wind” is a phrase of praise which

suggests other abstract methods of praise which occur in

the piece-bells and hymns.

4.5 minutes

Solo Instrumental

2 3

Solo Voice and Vocal Duet

Seven Poems of Stillness

Cello and optional narrator

Score 9780193408418

This continuous cycle (c.16 minutes without narrator,

c.24 with narrator) intersperses seven poems by R. S.

Thomas with seven movements for solo cello. The music is

evocative, moving, and thoughtfully sets the mood for the

poem that it precedes. A recording of this work, performed

by the cellist Guy Johnson, is available from Tŷ Cerrd


16/24 minutes


Soprano saxophone or flute

Score 9780193858701

Windhover is based on the idea of flight from a falcon’s

point of view. Sections of slow soaring, where strength and

detailed focus predominate, alternate with swifter sections,

where the blurring rush of flight takes over.

8 minutes

Solo Voice and Vocal Duet


Soprano and percussion

Score 9780193863514

A dramatic song cycle for soprano solo in four movements.

The accompaniment is for crotale (or any other suitable

percussion instrument), and the performer can add stage

movement, costume, and lighting to create theatrical


12 minutes

A girl’s song to her mother

Voice and oboe (or other melody instrument)

Score 9780193863521

A tender, deeply touching extended song which is within

the scope of students, A girl’s song to her mother is a

companion piece to Wings of the Grasses. Each piece recalls

the open, high moorland of South Wales. In A girl’s song to

her mother the voice is a younger person comforting an

older one. In Wings of the Grasses the voice changes from

that of a child to that of a reflective adult.

6 minutes

The Moor

Soprano and mezzo-soprano

Score 9780193859319

This unaccompanied duet for soprano and mezzo-soprano

conflates R. S. Thomas’ beautiful poem on the sacred

quality of moorland with passages from three different

Psalms and a line from the hymn ‘Rheidol’. This is both a

fine concert piece and an imaginative, compelling anthemsubstitute

whose technical demands are well within reach

of most female soloists.

5 minutes

Mother and Son

Soprano, E flat clarinet, violin, viola, and cello

Score 9780193860575

This short ensemble piece is a moving setting of a poem by

R.S. Thomas depicting a son begging his mother to let him

go and experience life in its fullness. The accompaniment is

suitable either for clarinet with viola and cello, or for string


3 minutes

Songs of the Cotton Grass

Soprano and oboe

Score 9780193364547

Four songs set to texts by the Welsh poet Menna Elfyn,

Songs of the Cotton Grass are in turn tender, reflective,

lively, and full of the imagery of landscapes ranging from

the open, high moorland of South Wales to the cotton

plantations of the USA’s deep South.

20 minutes

Wings of the Grasses

Voice and oboe

Score 9780193867772

Wings of the Grasses was composed as a companion piece

to A girl’s song to her mother. Each piece recalls the open,

high moorland of South Wales. In A girl’s song to her mother

the voice is a younger person comforting an older one. In

Wings of the Grasses the voice changes from that of a child

to that of a reflective adult.

3.5 minutes




Duos, Trios, and Ensemble

Oboe and viola

Score 9780193858480

Duo is a forum for a dialogue between the similar timbres

of the viola and the oboe. The instrumental lines are not set

in contrast to each other; rather, they intertwine.

10 minutes

From the Song of Amergin

Flute, viola, and harp

Score 9780193861077

Three lines from Robert Graves’ restoration of the text from

an ancient Celtic calendar-alphabet, the Song of Amergin,

directly inspired this piece, which is in five sections.

10.5 minutes

The Gardens of Anna Maria Luisa

de Medici

Flute, cello, and piano

Score 9780193868564

This trio is inspired by the last of the Medicis, the

remarkable Anna Maria Luisa (1667-1743), who left Italy

for Germany for twenty-six years while married to Johann

Wilhelm of Saxony. Just one facet of her colourful life

influences the composition: each of the three movements

reveals her love of nature under cultivation.

13 minutes


Flute and cello

Score 9780193859586

Llef recalls the rain-swept stone walls of the Welsh

countryside, where echoes of the old hymns may still be


7 minutes

Nothing Forgotten

Violin, cello, and piano

Score 9780193861510

This work is made up of three interlinked movements,

played without a break, and includes references to two

traditional Adirondack songs.

10 minutes

Of Erthe and Air

Flute or piccolo, clarinet or bass clarinet, and

percussion (frame drums)

OR flute or piccolo, soprano saxophone/alto/

baritone saxophone, and percussion (frame drums)

Clarinet version 9780193858848

Saxophone version 9780193404885

Of Erthe and Air was composed in response to a phrase

from the poem ‘For this World Fareth as a Fantasye’ by John

Trevisa (d.1402) while the composer was in Japan.

15 minutes

Some of the Silence

Saxophone quartet

Score 9780193376922

A slow movement which explores the beautiful sonorities

of saxophones played softly.

9 minutes

The Walls of Morlais Castle

Oboe, viola, and cello

Score 9780193863583

A powerful, dramatic, and colourful concert piece, which is

also suitable for more advanced young players.

10 minutes

Water’s Edge

Piano duet (or string orchestra)

Score 9780193859494

Score and parts on hire - string orchestra 9780193859784

This is a piano duet for advanced students. The three

movements may be performed together or separately. The

‘edge’ of the title refers to the upper surface of the water as

it reflects or refracts light.

A version for string orchestra is available on hire.

9 minutes

Winter Sun, Summer Rain

Flute, clarinet, viola, cello, and celeste

Score 9780193858497

Three interlinked descriptive movements.

12 minutes

Duos, Trios, and Ensemble

2 5


Adirondack Light

Narrator and chamber orchestra

Score and parts on hire 9780193859227

Composed for the commemoration of the centennial of the

Adirondack Park, Adirondack Light contains ‘windows’ into

four Adidonack folksongs, with strong images of water and

travel. The text is adapted from the poem, ‘A Lesson from

the Hudson River School: Glens Falls, New York, 1848’ by

Jordan Smith.

19 minutes

as ferns

String orchestra

Score and parts on hire 9780193858695

Written for the Orchestra of Princeton University, this is an

evocative, slow movement for string orchestra.

9 minutes

Toward Dusk

Small Orchestra

Piccolo, flute and string orchestra

Score and parts on hire 9780193864498

Toward Dusk is an arrangement of the last movement of

Tann’s Water’s Edge (for piano duet). Echoes of the material

of the other two movements are heard during the piece.

4 minutes

With the heather and small


Chamber orchestra

Score and parts on hire 9780193859593

A celebratory overture for chamber orchestra influenced

by the high plateau of central Wales. The piece takes its title

from a translation of a poem by Welsh bard, John Ceiriog

Hughes (1833-1897) ‘efo’r grug a’r adar man’.

10 minutes

Fanfare for a River

Full orchestra

Score and parts on hire 9780193863866

A fanfare for orchestra, featuring brass played from a


4 minutes

From Afar

Full Orchestra

Full orchestra

Score and parts on hire 9780193860278

From Afar refers to Tann’s memory of four months spent

studying Japanese music in Kyoto in 1990. Propulsive

rhythms in the percussion juxtapose with a meditative


20 minutes

From the Feather to the


Full orchestra

Score and parts on hire 9780193868854

‘Walking’ passages (with hints of New York folksongs) link

the three main sections: ‘Cloudscape’, ‘Landscape’, and

‘Mountainscape’ in this through-composed piece.

13 minutes

The Grey Tide and the Green

Full orchestra

Score and parts on hire

Recalling the lichen-covered, low stone walls in Tann’s

childhood home in Ferndale, Wales, this work is also

influenced by R.S. Thomas’ short poem ‘Boundaries’.

11 minutes

The Open Field (In memoriam

Tiananmen Square)

Full orchestra

Score and parts on hire 9780193858534

A strong feature of this work is the celebratory fanfare, but

while writing this Tann heard of the events of Tiananmen

Square in June 1989 and changed the nature of the piece

to something darker and more reflective.

11 minutes


Orchestration details can by found on the OUP website



Full orchestra

Score and parts on hire 9780193865679

Sarsen, in three movements, was inspired by particular

standing stones or ‘sarsens’, moving from natural

wilderness, (Adirondack Mountains, New York) to stylized

formality (Rock in the Garden of the Master of the Nets in

Suzhou, China), and finally, ceremonial (Avebury, UK). Each

of the movements may also be performed separately.

11 minutes

Through Echoing Timber

Full orchestra

Score and parts on hire 9780193859074

A celebratory fanfare-overture, the title is taken from

Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem, ‘Spring’. This short, dramatic

piece features a prominent part for brass.

4 minutes

Choral Leaflets Sacred

Psalm 104 (Praise, my soul)

SATB, 2 trumpets, organ or chamber orchestra

Vocal score 9780193862395

Trumpet parts 9780193862401

Score and parts on hire 9780193866133

An anthem whose trumpet fanfare and joyful character

contribute to a festive feel. Welsh singing translations are

also provided in certain sections.

7 minutes

Psalm 136 (Luminaria magna)

SATB and organ

Vocal score 9780193866881

An anthem of praise suitable for amateur church choirs,

Tann’s setting features interesting textures, long melodic

vocal lines, and an energetic organ part.

8 minutes

Recordings of Hilary Tann’s works can

be found and bought on her website.

For more information, please visit:


Choral Leaflets Secular

Wales, Our Land (Cymru,

ein gwlad)

SATB, flute, and optional piano 9780193867451

This lilting, beautiful choral work sets text by an unknown

Welsh-American slate quarryman which speaks of the

poet’s love of his country of origin. It is this sense of

longing for one’s homeland (‘hiraeth‘ in Welsh) which

infuses the composition.

4 minutes

Archive Titles

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Choral Leaflets and Archive Titles

2 7

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