Steve – Five Recorders

Lord My God, I Call For Help By Day (DTrTTB) MHE 61203 £3.00
A reasonably easy setting of Psalm 87. The piece unashamedly uses imitation in the style of a typical Renaissance motet, but equally unashamedly uses chords more familiar to fans of Vaughan Williams. Pleasant and interesting.

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The Major Pipework Tango (soloBorCtB DTrTB) MHE 20403 £3.00
Fairly easy music once the tango rhythms are perfected, and a sure-fire winner with audiences. If the solo part is played on a contrabass, the lucky owner has a very unusual "feature" piece.

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The Wandsworth Swing (DTrTTB) MHE 10105 £3.50
Encouraged by the success of Two Blues Canzonettas (MHE 30703), I wrote another - this time with swung quavers.

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Pavan for the Earl of Salisbury (Byrd) (SnoDTrTB) MHE 10603a £3.50
Original Version
 
Extended Version
 
Byrd's famous Pavan in a new arrangement. Also included is another piece - strictly for non-purists! - in which Byrd's piece is lengthened by a newly-composed middle section. The notes are easy, but it may be difficult to make the piece beautiful with Sno and D on top. See the next piece (MHE 10603) for the version an octave lower.

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Pavan for the Earl of Salisbury (Byrd) (TrTBGtBCtB) MHE 10603 £3.50
See the previous piece (MHE 10603a).

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Fantasy No 1 In 5 Parts (TrTrTTB) MHE 60405 £4.00
Attractive and quite easy music which unfolds slowly in the manner of a Gibbons Fantasia, while avoiding pastiche.

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Fantasy No 2 In 5 Parts (TrTrTTB) MHE 20806 £4.00
Similar in approach to Fantasy No 1. This time all of the basic musical material is heard before the end of the first page, with the subsequent six minutes gently combining and recombining it.

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Fantasy No 3 in 5 Parts (TrTrTTB) MHE 30307 £5.50
This piece is largely built on the phrase which starts it off. It may be worthwhile spending some time on getting the phrase right on all instruments, as it is rather tricky to play smoothly and gently, especially on the tenors where it rises to a top A. Groups who have played my five-part Fantasies 1 and 2 will find that this one is slightly more of a challenge, technically and musically.

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Fantasy No 4 In 5 Parts (TrTrTTB) MHE 50108 £8.00
This Fantasy doesn't look too hard on paper, but the large number of accidentals and (important) quaver rests may mean that quite a lot of work is needed to get it right. It is also about 7 minutes long, so groups will need stamina and concentration!

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Fantasy No 5 In 5 Parts (TrTrTTB) MHE 20308 £5.50
This fifth TrTrTTB Fantasy is quite unlike the first four. It has a perky - even jolly! - first theme, which is squarely in Gmajor. It also has that crotchet-quaver-quaver rhythm typical of canzons. Admittedly it later moves into darker and misterioso Gminor territory, but it manages to pull itself together for a rather upbeat ending. There are no jazzy rhythms (not even a single crotchet triplet), and so I think that most players will find it easier than most of my work.

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Fantasy No 6 In 5 Parts (TrTrTTB) MHE 30508 £5.50
This fantasy is a rather intense fugal affair. The subject is quite long and angular, and the piece takes two minutes before each part has introduced it. The mood lightens in the middle section, before the subject returns, but a little less severely. Just in the very last bar the sun comes out with a surprising A major chord. Playing time is about 6 minutes

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Fantasy No 7 In 5 Parts (TrTrTTB) MHE 20808 £4.00
This fantasy is entirely in 5/4 time (well, 10/8 in the middle). Because most people find it very difficult to feel 5 in a bar, I thought I would give them a sporting chance by keeping the pulse quite slow and by using syncopations very sparingly. Playing time is about 5 minutes.

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Fantasy No 8 In 5 Parts (TrTrTTB) MHE 10409 £5.50
A rather sombre piece, despite occasional interruptions of the 4/4 time by sections of dance-like 9/8. The fantasy is not too difficult, but it needs considerable control (and, of course, accurate tuning) to pull off well. These problems become more of a challenge two minutes from the end, when the piece becomes slower and quieter. Playing time is about 5 minutes.

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Fantasy No 9 In 5 Parts (TrTrTTB) MHE 10711 £4.50
This fantasy is brisk and, I hope, quite exciting. It has a rather unsettled feel throughout, as it shifts restlessly between adjacent chords (such as A/Bb and E/F). The piece is quite difficult, not because of short notes (of which there are few), but because of observing the constantly-changing accidentals, and because of the related problems of tuning. Playing time is about four minutes

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Fantasy No 10 In 5 Parts (TrTrTTB) MHE 10811 £3.50
Fantasy No 10 is, at under two minutes, by far the shortest so far in this series. Despite its brevity it goes through quite a variety of moods - sometimes bright and perky, and sometimes rather dark and brooding. The piece is fairly brisk, with some angular melodies and no shortage of accidentals. This all adds up to music that is quite difficult to play well, but I believe that you'll find it worth the effort!

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Fantasy No 11 In 5 Parts (TrTrTTB) MHE 60813 £5.00
I have heard Helen Hooker remark more than once about canons in my work, and the groups she has been conducting do seem to enjoy the canon experience. I decided to take this experience to a whole new level, and this Fantasy does not merely begin with a canon, but its entire six-and-a-half minute span is a single strict canon, except for a short conclusion. The piece is dedicated to Helen, with thanks for the marvellous musicality she brings to bear when conducting my work.

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L'Amante Modesto (Barbara Strozzi) (DTrTTB) MHE 30810 £4.50
This is an arrangement of a madrigal by the Venetian composer Barbara Strozzi (1619-1664). It is a dramatic work about unrequited love, with several changes of pace and mood. I arranged the piece for a series of sessions featuring the work of female composers, presented at the 2011 Northern Recorder Course. Playing time is about four minutes.

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Greensleeves (DDTrTB and DDTrTrTB) MHE 50603a £4.50
The old war-horse in modern garb. There's a lazy summer afternoon jazz feel to this arrangement. A sextet arrangement is also included. Not difficult to play, and an interesting change for players and audiences alike. For lower settings, see the next piece (MHE 50603).

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Greensleeves (TrTrTBGtB and TrTrTTBGtB) MHE 50603 £4.50
See the previous piece (MHE 50603a).

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Lampeter Rhapsody (D solo, DTrTB) MHE 11105 £4.50
This piece was written for the group of recorder players in south-west Wales, centred on the town of Lampeter. I tried to write something simple but interesting, which might capture some of the peaceful beauty of that part of the world. The descant solo is moderately hard, but the accompanying parts are easy. The piece works very well if the solo part is played on the oboe.

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Fantasy Quintet (TrTBGtBCtB) MHE 11211 £5.50
I wrote this piece for the quintet Fontanella. I saw them in concert and, although they all have remarkable individual technique, the highlight of the evening for me was their fantastic ensemble playing. I therefore suggested to the group that I write a slow-moving piece with the emphasis not on high-speed runs, but on the potential for honest-to-goodness gorgeousness. This five-minute piece therefore works out its material in quite a leisurely way; achieving gorgeousness is up to you!

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The Charlbury Reel (DDTrTB, Vln, Cello) MHE 20404 £6.00
Good humoured music that pictures country dancing beside a river, with the occasional train passing in the distance. Written for the unusual combination of DDTrTB, violin and cello, to play at the annual Charlbury Festival, but works equally well for recorder orchestra, where it would make a bright start to a programme. For that version (MHE 20404a), please go to the 'More than Six Recorders' page.

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The Night Wind (voice TrTTBB(orGtB)) MHE 61008 £7.00
This piece is a setting of a poem by Emily Brontë. The poem is rather dark and mysterious, and I hope the setting reflects that. The range of the voice is from middle C to F#, and hence would suit a mezzo-soprano. This range would also suit a tenor, although it may be debatable whether the words suit a male singer. Voice and recorder parts are all of moderate difficulty, and the playing time is about 6 minutes.

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Two Madrigals by Monteverdi (DDTrTB) MHE 20716 £7.50
Se Tu Mi Lassi
 
Ti Spontò l'Ali, Amor
 
There is very little music by Claudio Monteverdi arranged for recorder. His many madrigals might seem a rich source of music for recorder players, but perhaps a snag is that, to get the best out of them, great flexibility is required in line with the words. I arranged these two pieces from Monteverdi’s second book of madrigals to use on the 2016 Rural Recorder Course, on which we studied the words carefully (in Italian, as well as in translation). Our objective was to get to a performance that at least hinted at the heart-on-sleeve drama of these forerunners of Italian opera. Quite a tall order for a few recorders, but I think we all learned a lot from the experience.

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Spirituals In Words And Music (DTrTTB + voice) MHE 30204 £7.50
Poor Wayfaring Stranger
 
Hebrew Children
 
Go Down Moses
 
Great Day
 
Deep River
 
A piece in the form of a short history of the development of Spirituals, illustrated by six musical examples performed by voice and recorder quintet. The range of the voice is from A below the stave to G above. Written for use at meetings of the Society of Recorder Players, where the music (all quite easy) can be rehearsed, and then finished off with a 'concert performance' including the narrative.

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Three Recorder Blues (DTrTBB) MHE 90303 £7.50
Jazzy Blues
 
Sleazy Blues
 
Rocky Blues
 
Nothing too frightening, although these pieces will not succeed without accurate rhythm playing, so some work may be called for! The sleazy blues is also available separately for a bigger group (SnoDTrTrTTBGtBCtB); this is MHE 80303, entitled I Got Them Chipping Norton Blues, which is listed on the 'More than Six Recorders' page.

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Nerves of Steele (DTrTTB) MHE 10315 £8.00
Riffin' on the Itchen
 
Otterbourne Hill Blues
 
Colden Common Groove
 
I wrote this set of pieces at the request of Mary Steele, who wanted a jazz piece, and this suite is just that – full of swinging ‘real jazz’, with little trace of rock, funk and easy listening, which are often introduced into the jazz mix (including by myself, on occasions). As usual with jazz on the recorder, Nerves of Steele is not particularly easy, but a conducted ensemble should manage fine, with some work. Unconducted one-to-a-part ensembles may, however, require nerves of steel to conquer these pieces!

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Two Blues Canzonettas (DTrTTB) MHE 30703 £8.00
Canzonetta in G
 
Canzonetta in A
 
The form is ancient (with much imitation in the parts), but the musical language is modern (the Blues). These canzonettas are of moderate difficulty, but are interesting and rewarding for those looking for something different.

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Northumberland Suite (DTrTTB) MHE 10708 £8.00
Lavender's Blue
 
Bonny At Morn
 
Dance To Your Daddy
 
Bobby Shaftoe
 
Arrangements of four traditional songs from Northumberland. Lavender's Blue, Dance To Your Daddy and Bobby Shaftoe are very well-known, but the beautiful Bonny At Morn is less so, except perhaps on the folk music circuit. The arrangements are interesting, but pretty easy.

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Recorder Quintet No 1 (DTrTTB) MHE 21206 £8.50
1
 
2
 
3
 
A piece which is not hard to stumble through, but where a successful performance will need good and confident players. The problem is the usual one with my music - rhythms, which are here even more important than usual. The wistful second movement is relatively easy, however, and could be attempted by an SRP branch on a good day!

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Thames and Variations (DTrTTB optGtBCtB) MHE 10309 £9.00
I wrote the six-minute Thames and Variations for the first-ever meeting of the South Cotswold branch of the Society of Recorder Players. As the group meets in Lechlade (the highest navigable part of the river Thames), this fairly easy piece is in the form of a theme and variations, each variation illustrating a scene on a river journey to the Thames estuary. The basic five parts work fine, but a contrabass is a good addition, and after that a great bass adds even more.

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The Essex Galliards (DTrTTB) MHE 10809 £9.00
The Earl of Essex Galliard
 
The Pearl of Essex Galliard
 
The Girl from Essex Galliard
 
This set of pieces begins with Dowland's Earl of Essex Galliard, in a new edition by Steve Marshall. Steve and Rosemary Robinson then provide two companion pieces, which are heavily influenced by the Dowland. Steve's 'Pearl of Essex Galliard' features the characteristic 3/4 and 6/8 rhythms of the original, while constructing a dance with a faint but unmistakable jazz feel. The title was suggested by the Essex coastal town Brightlingsea, which is sometimes given that description. Rosemary's witty 'Girl from Essex Galliard' is Dowland’s piece as danced by a blonde - Debussy’s ‘Girl with the Flaxen Hair’. The composer (hopefully with tongue in cheek!) says that for a really authentic performance this could be played at 415 pitch so that the quotations from Debussy sound in their original key of G flat major.

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Miniature Suite for Harp & Recorders (harp DTrTBCtB) MHE 11206 £9.50
Intrada
 
Lament
 
Dance
 
This short but tuneful suite was written at the request of Sue Danbury, for use by a recorder group in Clun. The group regularly plays with a harpist, but unsurprisingly there was (until now!) no music for harp and recorders together. For those recorder groups not blessed with a concert harp, the usual stand-by of a synthesiser could be used. I think that a guitar would work well also; if anyone would like to try this, please contact me and I will make a suitable arrangement.

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Counterfeit Country Dances (DTrTTB) MHE 10403 £9.50
Jumping The Pikestaff
 
Posy's Pottering Dance
 
The Squire's Skirmish
 
The Rochdale Stomping Dance
 
Patrick's Repose
 
Miss Robinson's Revel
 
Six contrasting pieces with the broad feel of traditional country dances, but where the detail is modern. There are some rhythms and chords which have more to do with the world of jazz than the village green. Not the easiest pieces ever written - there are some fairly rapid passages, and confident accurate rhythms are a must. One dance involves everyone loudly stamping their feet, which may be a first in recorder music!

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Five Variants For Recorder Quintet (DTrTTB) MHE 10406 £10.00
The Theme (Ann Marshall)
 
Fantasia For Ann (Rosemary Robinson)
 
Blues In The Nursery (Steve Marshall)
 
Snowfall (Robin Powell)
 
March (John Hawkes)
 
Chorale (Andrew Melville)
 
These five pieces are the result of my suggestion to four other composers that we could take a very short original theme, and write a piece based on that theme, completely independently of one another. All of the pieces would last between two and three minutes and would be for a DTrTTB quintet. We used an 8 bar tune written by Ann Marshall, which I sent to everyone unharmonised so that they could treat the melody exactly as they saw fit. The pieces are fascinatingly different from one another, and they could be performed as a set, without any feeling of repetition. Of moderate difficulty only.

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