In Memoriam: Dennis Bamforth (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10106 £4.00
Written for the 2006 Northern Recorder Course, I hope that this short (4 minute) piece is an appropriate memorial to Dennis Bamforth, without whom we would not have the recorder orchestras that we have today. In a very formal way it reflects the range of a standard orchestra, as a slow-moving chromatic scale underpins the whole piece, starting on the lowest contrabass note, and finishing on the highest note of the sopranino. Along the way there are several changes of texture, typical of recorder orchestras. The music is poignant, slow moving and very chromatic - accurate tuning is difficult, but essential.
The Night (DTrTrTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 30303 £4.00
This is mood music where it might be hard to find the right feel, but where the notes are easy. Also available in a version for recorders and SATB voices; see the next piece (MHE 30303a).
My Lady Carey's Dompe (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 40108 £4.50
This short piece, by that most prolific composer Anon, is included in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, which comprises early 17th century English keyboard pieces. This easy arrangement for recorder orchestra emphasises the bare, hypnotic feel of the music.
Scarborough Fair (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10108 £4.50
I have been involved for some time with a project to bring the pleasures of the recorder orchestra to players who are technically not very strong. There is little music suitable for such groups, and this easy arrangement of the very well-known tune Scarborough Fair is one attempt at starting to fill that gap. It's only because my arrangement is aimed at a completely different set of players that I would dare to work on the same tune as used by Paul Clark in his famous set of variations!
Kyrie (Palestrina) (DTrTTBGtBCtB)
MHE 11112 £5.00
This is an arrangement of the Kyrie from Palestrina's 'Pope Marcellus Mass'. The mass was composed in 1562, and found immediate favour. The Kyrie is in six parts, but I have rearranged it in seven parts, to take advantage of great basses and contrabasses. It works perfectly well one-to-a-part, but really comes into its own with several-to-a-part, when it is truly gorgeous. I have also produced an optional part for contrabass in C; please contact me if you would like a copy
Ave Maria (Holst) (DTrTrTTTBB)
MHE 10313 £5.00
Holst wrote this beautiful double-female choir piece in 1900, in memory of his mother. Unlike the original, my arrangement is in a recorder-friendly key, and this lovely work is hence made accessible to the recorder world (for the first time, as far as I know). Total playing time is about four minutes.
Nesciens Mater (Mouton) (TTBCtB/BBGtBCtB)
MHE 20718 £5.50
Jean Mouton (1459 - 1530) was a French composer. His Nesciens Mater, which was published posthumously in 1555, is a very clever piece of writing, with the higher choir playing exactly the same material as the lower choir, but two bars later, and a fifth higher. This compositional trick does not dominate proceedings however, and this is a work of great and effortless beauty. I have arranged the piece for two eight-foot choirs, although it could also be played an octave higher by DDTrB/TrTrTB. Playing time is about five minutes.
Die Windmühle (The Windmill) (DTrTrTTBGtBCtB)
MHE 10610 £6.50
I attended a concert by the German recorder orchestra 'Recorders Galore', conducted by Sally Turner. Apart from anything else I was impressed by the effortless ease with which they changed tempo mid-piece, and so I wrote Die Windmühle to take advantage of this skill. I had in mind a windmill sitting on top of a hill, with the breeze changing abruptly from gentle to strong.
MHE 40113a £6.50
Offenbach's famous Can-Can from his operetta 'Orpheus in the Underworld' is two minutes of riotous fun. I hope and believe that this arrangement for recorder orchestra retains some of the joie de vivre of the original!
All Creatures Of Our God And King (DDDDTrTrTrTrTTTTBBBB)
MHE 60303 £6.50
The poor man's Spem In Alium! There are four DTrTB quartets and all parts are independent. Some problems in counting, but otherwise straightforward.
The Charlbury Reel (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 20404a £6.50
Good humoured music that pictures country dancing beside a river, with the occasional train passing in the distance. Originally 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. The original version is still available (MHE 20404), and is listed on the 'Five Recorders' page.
Rhapsody for Bassoon and Recorder Orchestra (Bsn SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10907 £6.50
I wrote this 6 minute rhapsody for the bassoonist Harriet Oliver and the Thames Valley Recorder Orchestra. It is scored such that the bassoon is still prominent against a regular recorder orchestra, but the piece also works well using a one-to-a-part chamber recorder orchestra. The orchestral parts are reasonably straightforward, but the bassoonist needs to be pretty good.
Report on 'Carla' (Schnabel/Marshall) (SnoDTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 41110 £6.50
In 2005 Dietrich Schnabel composed a set of short pieces entitled 'Die Mädels'. One of the pieces, 'Carla', is particularly simple and beautiful, consisting almost entirely of crotchets, spelling out a hypnotic and attractive chord sequence. I liked 'Carla' immediately, and many ways of developing it suggested themselves to me. At the risk of gilding the lily, and with Dietrich's permission, I have therefore written this 'report' on his piece, a report in this sense being an archaic term for a piece written in response to another. Playing time is about five minutes.
A Short History Of The Ruishton Martyr (SnoDTrTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 90608 £7.00
John Wall (1620-1679) was a priest during the Reformation, when it was illegal to say Mass in Britain. This piece, written for a playing day in Ruishton (near Taunton), is a dramatic musical representation of his life, capture and execution – and all in 5 minutes! The notes are no more than moderately difficult, although the music is in places very atmospheric, and in other places rhythmic and exciting, so some work may be needed to turn on a musical sixpence.
Still Life with Quinces and Lemons (DDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 51210 £7.00
This piece has quite a history. Still Life with Quinces and Lemons is the name of a painting by Vincent van Gogh. Then Judy Kendall wrote a 'visual text poem' inspired by the painting. Then I composed an eight-part choral setting of Judy's poem for the choir 'Cathures', and finally I rearranged that choral work for recorder orchestra! Judy's rather abstract poem suggested to me a minimalist approach, and my five-minute piece makes use of just a few musical ideas that drift in and out of the texture. See the next piece (MHE 51210a) for an 'eight-foot' octet version.
Santa Maria, Strela Do Dia (Alfonso el Sabio) (SnoDTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 10915 £7.00
I wrote this piece at the request of Debbie Nicholas, as a momento of Harry Lyall and his music for the Bath branch of the Society of Recorder Players. The original tune was written by the Spanish composer Alfonso de Sabio (the wise). My arrangement is quite a free one but still, I hope, in a sympathetic style. Performance time is about five minutes.
Iam Lucis Orto Sidere (Lassus) (DDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10717 £7.00
Lassus is probably best known for his beautiful sacred compositions. This short piece, arranged by Steve Marshall, is very different – it is a drinking song! The text is a parody of an eighth-century hymn with the same title. The (translated) original begins...Now that light is risen in the heavens, Lowly of heart, our God we pray that He from harm may keep us free, in all the deeds this day shall see. Lassus transforms this into…Now that light is risen in the heavens, one must begin to drink at once; therefore we shall be well, if we have drunk well. The piece - fast and vigorous - continues in the same vein!
Trotto (DDTrTBGtBCtB optSubCtB)
MHE 70812 £7.00
In the summer of 2012 the recorder world became excited when the young Charlotte Barbour-Condini reached the final of the BBC Young Musician of the year competition, an unprecedented feat for a recorder player. One of the pieces she played in the competition was Trotto, an anonymous medieval dance, which she played with percussion accompaniment. Never one to watch a band-wagon go past, I swiftly jumped on, with my own arrangement of this exciting piece, written to conduct at the opening session of the 2012 Cheltenham Recorder Festival. Knowing that there would be over two hundred players there, including a large number of contrabasses, and three subcontrabasses, I wrote a rhythmic, primitive and powerful arrangement, and the roof was duly raised. The subcontrabass part is optional, but it sounds great if present. Playing time is about two minutes, but it’s an invigorating two minutes!
Variations on À Chantar (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 20108 £7.50
I have been involved for some time with a project to bring the pleasures of the recorder orchestra to players who are technically not very strong. There is little music suitable for such groups, and this easy arrangement of a 14th Century French tune is one attempt at starting to fill that gap. This 5 minute piece makes no great attempt at authenticity, but freely uses some elements of the period - bare harmonies and occasional violent clashes - hopefully to dramatic effect. There is also a version for sextet (MHE 20108a), which is listed on the 'Six Recorders' page.
A Policeman's Lot (DTrTrTBGtBCtB(opt)SubCtB)
MHE 10616 £7.50
Like most contrabass sections, the one in Helen Hooker’s Thames Valley Recorder Orchestra sometimes feels that its crucial role in the band can sometimes be under-appreciated! One of their number, Gillian Cooke, suggested that I arrange this famous number from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, a challenge I was pleased to rise to! The subcontrabass part is not essential, but is very nice to have. By the way, if you are looking for a recording of this number, it might be helpful to know that its official title’ is ‘When a Felon’s Not Engaged In His Employment’
Two Pieces by Pietro Mascagni (DTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 20117 £7.50
Prologue to Zanetto
Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana
The Italian Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945) was primarily a composer of opera. His best-known work was (and is) Cavalleria Rusticana, although in his day many of his other operas were frequently performed, especially in Italy. The first of these two pieces is the prologue to Zanetto; we believe the first arrangement of it made for recorders. The other is Mascagni’s ‘greatest hit’ – the intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana. Our arrangement attempts to render the orchestral parts idiomatic on the recorder, to the benefit of this smooth and powerful music. Total playing time is about six minutes.
May Hill Rhapsody (D solo, TrTrTTBGtBCtB)
MHE 10310 £8.00
This pastoral piece contrasts a fairly difficult descant solo with an easy orchestral accompaniment. Once a suitable soloist is found, the piece can be pulled together quickly with a group of only modest technical ability. The May Hill Rhapsody also exists in a version (MHE10310a) for treble soloist with DDTrTrTB; this is listed on the 'Six Recorders' page. Total playing time is about 6 minutes.
It's All Yours (SnoDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 20205 £8.00
This piece uses some of the conventions of jazz and rock music, in that basically it has a tune at either end, framing 'feature' sections for each part of the orchestra. Yes, even the great basses and contrabasses! Designed to allow each section of the orchestra to show what they can do, it is quite difficult, but makes a stirring programme opener. In a slightly changed form it comprises the first movement of the Symphony No 3 (MHE 20307).
Calm Is The Morn Without A Sound (choir, DTrTTBGtBorBCtB)
MHE 10906 £8.00
This fairly easy setting of the poem by Alfred Tennyson is dedicated to Ann Lyall, who has done so much to popularise the combination of voices and recorders. The voices are soprano, mezzo, contralto and baritone; all vocal material is doubled within the recorder group. For a recorders-only version, see the next piece (MHE 10906a).
Little Suite (Tr, cello solos, DTrTrTTBGtBCtB)
MHE 21006 £8.00
Little Suite was written for the musical couple Dick and Carolyn Little, a recorder player and cellist respectively. The piece takes the form of a short (7 minute) three-movement suite, with no gap between the movements. The same musical ideas appear in all movements, in different guises. The solo parts are of moderate difficulty, but the accompanying parts are reasonably straightforward. For a recorders-only version, see the next piece (MHE 21006a).
Little Suite (Tr,T solos, DTrTrTTBGtBCtB)
MHE 21006a £8.00
See the previous piece (MHE 21006). The version for recorders-only works well - it is much more than a mere substitution of a tenor recorder for a cello.
Fantasy for Recorder Orchestra (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 20609 £8.00
There are several thriving U3A recorder ensembles in Canberra, and I wrote this piece for the largest of them – the Canberra U3A recorder orchestra - and for their conductor Margaret Wright. As with most pieces with 'Fantasy' in the title, this one uses just a few musical ideas which are combined in various ways as the piece progresses. This 5 minute piece is of no more than moderate difficulty.
Un Petit Digestif (Sno, D solos, SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 40508 £8.50
This piece was written as an encore for a joint concert in Germany by the Scottish Recorder Orchestra and the Dortmund Recorder Consort. The circumstance of the composition was a bit unusual. I received an email from Eileen Silcocks Friday lunchtime, and if I decided to write a piece it had to be with them the next morning to start rehearsal, in time for the concert on Sunday afternoon. I emailed the score and parts over late on Friday night, and I believe the concert and the piece went well. Naturally I'd prefer it if this short fun piece is seen as a useful encore for recorder orchestras, rather than as a bizarre party trick! Not difficult, although the soloists will need to be good.
The Wind In The Pine Tree (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB + narrator)
MHE 40204 £8.50
Lightly, Lightly, His Feet Touched The Earth
The Boat Journey
A beautiful traditional Japanese fairy tale, for narrator and recorder orchestra. The music has a strongly Japanese flavour, and is generally quite easy to play, although the (to our ears) unusual scales may lead to some tuning problems at first. The piece is also available for recorder orchestra and koto; see the next piece (MHE 40204b).
The Wind In The Pine Tree (koto, SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB + narrator)
MHE 40204b £13.00
See the previous piece (MHE 40204). This version contains more music, and has an important part for the koto (a Japanese stringed instrument). In the likely event of a koto (and player) not being available, a synthesiser could be used.
Wedding Day at Troldhaugen (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 60808 £8.50
Grieg's wonderfully tuneful piece started life as a piano solo, although he later orchestrated it. It works very well for a standard recorder orchestra, although the precise rhythms of a chamber recorder orchestra may suit it even better. This 6 minute piece is certain to be an audience-pleaser, but it is quite difficult in places, especially two mercifully brief sections which explore Eb minor.
Wirral Overture (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 50405 £8.50
A fast and furious curtain-raiser in a jazz-rock style, written for the Wirral Recorder Orchestra. The notes are not too hard, but players (and probably conductor) will be put through their rhythmic paces as they tackle music involving many triplets and quite a few quintuplets.
Bite-Sized Blues (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10304 £9.00
The Blue Islands
Blues For Johann
Three varied blues - one funky, one wistful, and one big-band blues which uses a theme from Bach's 3rd Brandenburg Concerto! Written as crowd-pleasing "stocking fillers", these make no profound musical statement, but are a bit of fun. Reasonably easy music for orchestras who are good at rhythms.
Mellow Introduction and Fugue (TTBBGtBCtB(opt)SubCtB)
MHE 20416 £9.00
I wrote this piece for the first meetings of a new venture by Helen Hooker - the Mellow Tones Recorder Orchestra, an eight-foot orchestra set up and conducted by Helen. An eight-foot recorder orchestra has tenors as the top line, descending to contrabasses, or even lower if those very rare instruments are available. My piece has a slow and mellow introduction, which is arguably the comfort zone of an eight-foot band. But then the fugue is jazzy and quite tricky, the intention being to provide an element of technical challenge for the new orchestra. Playing time is about five minutes.
The Lone Ar-Ranger (Philip Buttall) (GarSnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 50204 £9.00
This barnstorming tribute to Rossini by Philip Buttall, crams a host of well-known tunes into a piece which is great fun for players and audience alike. The piano original was such a success that Philip arranged it for several instrumental combinations, from saxophone quartet to full orchestra. This arrangement by Steve Marshall for recorder orchestra (including garklein) is fast, furious, and pretty difficult in places. But persevere - this is a piece which is guaranteed to send your audience home happy!
Three Inventions for Double Choir (DTrTB/DTrTB)
MHE 30207 £9.50
There's plenty of recorder music which has been transcribed from multichoir vocal music of yesteryear, but there is almost no modern multichoir recorder music. I didn't see why the interesting multichoir format should be restricted in this way, and these three pieces are my attempt to break the mould, or at least crack it a little.
St Louis Tickle (Theron Catlen Bennett) (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 91208 £9.50
A tuneful and fun rag with a swing feel, by Theron Catlen Bennett, arranged for Jane Taussik by Steve Marshall. Of moderate difficulty only.
The Voyage Of The Matthew (DTrTrTTBGtBCtB)
MHE 20508 £9.50
This piece was written to mark the 60th anniversary of the Bristol branch of the Society of Recorder Players. In less than eight minutes it illustrates the historic journey of John Cabot and his crew aboard the Matthew, when they set sail from Bristol in May 1497 to find a route westward to Asia. The piece tries to reflect some of the fears of the men on their long journey into the unknown, although the music lightens towards the end as they sail back into Bristol with all the church bells ringing!
Four Mediaeval Tunes (SnoDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 20604 £9.50
Sumer Is Icumen In
Ja Nuns Hons Pris
Four short mediaeval pieces. These are essentially melodies over a drone, but the range and dynamic variation of a recorder orchestra is exploited to produce exciting music which is quite easy to play, apart from the occasional hint of virtuosity from the higher instruments.
Spirits Of The Water (DTrTTBBGtBGtBGtBCtBCtBCtB)
MHE 10408 £9.50
This 5-minute piece was written at the request of Gabi Harste for the recorder orchestra Blockflötenensemble Garbsen, on their 10th anniversary. Blockflötenensemble Garbsen is not a large ensemble, but it boasts a large number of great basses and contrabasses, hence the unusual instrumentation of the piece. Spirits Of The Water tries to suggest the essence of both still and flowing waters. Of moderate difficulty only.
A Leicester Triptych (DTrTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 31210 £11.00
I wrote A Leicester Triptych for the fiftieth anniversary of the Leicester branch of the Society of Recorder Players. I took the first eight bars of a galliard written by John Dowland for the First Earl of Leicester, and each 'panel' of the triptych is based on it. Before clever things start to happen to the tune, the basses play it unadorned at the very beginning. There is little in the music to directly suggest modern-day Leicester, with the exception of the reggae rhythm of the second panel, hinting at Leicester's large Jamaican community. Total playing time is about nine minutes.
A Jazz Short Story (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 20210 £11.00
Ann & Steve wrote this piece at the request of Dietrich Schnabel; they were happy to take up the challenge of writing a composition jointly. For the romantics among you, it may be interesting to know that the piece was finished on Valentine's day. A Jazz Short Story is a musical impression of a 7-page short story. It's never made quite clear what is happening, but the story certainly has many twists and turns, always looking back to the events on the first page – in many ways the piece is a theme-and-variations. The end seems to be a dramatic dénouement, but again one can only speculate about what happens – even about whether it's a happy ending or not! Total playing time of this moderately difficult piece is about 8 minutes.
The Long Path Home (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10807 £11.50
Eileen Silcocks asked me to write something minimalist for a recorder orchestra, and I took my cue from the poem 'Treading The Cotswold Way' by Judy Kendall, about having walked too far, and now facing "the long path home". That trudging idea suggested the minimalist pulsing feel which permeates the piece. The notes or (for once) the rhythms are not at all difficult, but getting the right feel may be.
Concertino No 1 for Sopranino Recorder (Sno solo, DTrTrTTBoptGtBoptCtB)
MHE 10805 £10.00
This piece was written to provide a concerto for groups limited by their size and/or technical ability. It is particularly suited to branch meetings of the Society of Recorder Players. The solo part is a bit tricky in places (but is not in virtuoso territory), while the orchestral parts are moderate only. The solo part could be played on treble if the 'orchestra' is small.
Concertino No 3 for Treble Recorder (Tr solo, DTrTrTTBGtBCtB)
MHE 30606 £12.00
Andante & Allegro
In the same way as the concertino for sopranino recorder, this piece was written to provide a concerto for groups limited by their size and/or technical ability. The solo part is tricky in places, while the orchestral parts are playable by - for example - a typical branch of the Society of Recorder Players.
Concertino No 4 for Contrabass Recorder (CtB solo, SnoDTrTrTTBoptGtBoptCtB)
MHE 40606 £13.00
Introduction & Jig
As an enthusiastic contra player myself, this was a piece that just had to be written in the end! The dialogue between soloist and ensemble is cunningly managed so that the contra remains centre-stage and audible throughout. There is some gentle music, but perhaps surprisingly many vigorous and exciting moments as well. The solo part needs some nimble playing, but is not particularly difficult. It fits on all makes of contra, as there are no low F#s or G#s.
Concertino No 5 ('Spanish') for Descant Recorder (D solo SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10208 £10.00
This ten-minute piece was written for an 'Easy Recorder Orchestra Playing Day' in 2008, to give an interesting experience for less proficient players. The guest at the day was Helen Hooker, and so I came up with a piece where the solo part is tricky, but the orchestra parts are easy. The only possible problem is that the time signature changes quite often, but always with a constant crotchet beat. Given the presence of a suitable soloist, the concertino is readily playable by any SRP branch (for example), as long as the right instruments are available. Why 'Spanish'? I used to play the classical guitar, and the influences of Spanish guitar music keep bubbling up in my recorder music. I let them bubble up freely for a whole piece!
Concertino No 6 for Contrabass Recorder (No 2) (CtB solo, SnoDTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 90810 £10.00
When, four years ago, I wrote the first Concertino for contrabass recorder (i.e. Concertino No 4), I hoped that it might get a couple of performances. In fact it has outsold all of my other concertini put together, has been performed often all over the world, and has even been recorded on a CD. Clearly there is a need for excellent contra players to show what they can do! The second contra concertino is considerably easier than the first, but still lively and – in the second movement – really quite pretty. Once again the dialogue between soloist and ensemble is managed so that the contra is never drowned. The solo part fits all makes of contra, as there are no low F#s and, although there are three Abs, alternatives are provided.
The Archaeology of Jazz (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10115 £11.00
A few years ago I conducted a recorder orchestra class where every day we played music from a different time in the short but interesting history of jazz. I wanted a piece that illustrated the roots of jazz in West Africa of hundreds of years ago. This music was heavily based on drumming, and so I created The Archaeology of Jazz, based on West African rhythms. The piece is largely mine, being my chords and melodies inspired by certain traditional drum patterns. But these drum patterns do give the music an exciting drive, which appeals to both players and audiences. Playing time is about four minutes; I have also written a much longer version of this piece, called The Archaeology of Jazz (The 2nd Trench) MHE 20115.
Barthram's Dirge (choir, DTrTTBGtBorBCtB)
MHE 11007 £11.50
This is quite a dramatic setting of an ancient story of love and murder, using the same forces as Calm Is The Morn Without A Sound. Again all vocal material is doubled within the recorder group. There is a recorders-only version; see the next piece (MHE 11007a).
MHE 40910 £11.50
A Flanders Funk
A Flanders Monk
A Flanders Drunk
Flanderama was written at the request of the Flanders Recorder Quartet for a concert where they were joining forces with Flautando Köln. They are difficult pieces for mere mortals, but not for such illustrious players as these! The pieces – one serious, and two with a definite fun element - are intended to work as a set, or as individual lollipops. The titles rhyme nicely, but there is no suggestion that Flanders is particularly known for it's funk, it's monks, or least of all it's drunks (although from a personal experience in Antwerp I know that it is home to some excellent beers).
Five Spirituals (DTrTTBGtBCtB)
MHE 40509 £12.00
Poor Wayfaring Stranger
Go Down, Moses
A collection of five spirituals which are available in other May Hill Edition titles with various instrumentations. They are here rearranged for seven recorders and sound good whether one-to-a-part or in a larger ensemble. The arrangements are easy, but interesting, and they are particularly suited to an ‘easy recorder orchestra’ group.
Pasticcio della Cornovaglia (Paul Clark) (SnoDTrTrTBGtBCtBSubCtB)
MHE 40715 £12.50
Paul Clark composed this piece, as a DTrTrTB quintet, for the Annual Festival of the Society of Recorder Players, held at Truro on 18 April 1998. The SRP festival was again held at Truro on 12 April 2014, and I was asked to rearrange Paul’s piece for what, in the intervening years, had become a ‘standard’ UK recorder orchestra. Peacock Press, the copyright holder, still publishes the original quintet, but kindly gave their permission for my orchestra arrangement. The title is Italian for ‘Cornish pasty’, and the piece is a highly-inventive, seven-minute melange of traditional Cornish folk tunes. The descant 2 part is an optional easy part; the subcontrabass part is also optional, but adds a great deal to the orchestral sound.
The Beating Heart of Jazz (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10812 £13.00
Sent to Coventry Blues
Blues for Janet and Ernie
The Beating Heart of Jazz was commissioned by the Heart of England Recorder Orchestra (HERO), in memory of two ex-players – Janet Williams and Ernie Price. My brief was to write some lively ‘swing’ music and, taking my cue from the title, I wrote two blues in the style of big-band jazz (blues being the inspiration for nearly all jazz). This is exciting stuff, but it is quite difficult music for recorders, both in terms of playing the notes correctly, and of observing the right idiom (jazz and blues in the style of a baroque recorder sonata does not work!)
What We Did On Our Holidays (SnoDTrTrTTBBGtBorBCtB)
MHE 30802 £13.00
The Helicopter Ride
Climbing The Hill At Dawn
The Village Fête
Rowing By Moonlight
Running Along The Beach
A suite of six colourful pieces. Two of the pieces are fast and a bit tricky; the others are fairly easy.
Short Journeys (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 20906 £13.00
Walking Down The Steps And Over The Sands
Walking In The Woods
Birkenhead Bus Rides In The Rain
Job's Steps, Eastham
Short Journeys is the result of a collaboration with the artist Judith Railton: Judith shot four short videos, and I composed music to 'fit with' them. The music, which is of no more than normal recorder orchestra difficulty, works well as a stand-alone suite, but an ideal performance would involve projecting the videos at the same time as performing the music. This needs quite some conducting skill, but is perfectly possible, as has been demonstrated by Grace Barton and the Wirral Recorder Orchestra. The DVD of the videos is available on request, to groups intending to perform the work. A sextet arrangement of the piece is available (MHE 20906a), listed on the 'Six Recorders' page.
Three Bagatelles (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 30906 £13.00
Return To The Blue Islands
These little pieces were written for Helen Hooker to use at the 2007 Northern Recorder Course. They are colourful musical representations of three holiday videos.
Prelude & Boogie (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10707 £13.00
This piece was written for the chamber recorder orchestra on the 2008 Northern Recorder Course. It is tricky in places and calls for precise rhythmic playing. In principle it will also work well with a normal recorder orchestra, but much rehearsal may be needed! Total playing time is about 6 minutes.
Symphony in D (Bühler) (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 20809 £13.00
The German composer Franz Bühler (1760-1823) wrote many works suitable for players and singers of modest ability. Among such pieces is his Symphony in D, originally for flute, clarinet, trumpet, horns and strings. Ann Marshall found this little-known but charming work and, together with Steve, arranged it for recorder orchestra. Specifically the arrangement is suitable for an 'easy' recorder orchestra, where it is a welcome addition to the very small repertoire of larger pieces for such a group. Total playing time is about 7 minutes.
Sinfonietta No 1 (Sno/D TrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10405 £14.00
An arrangement for (non-standard) recorder orchestra of the Summer Sextet (MHE 10704). The piece features rather odd instrumentation: the same players double on sopranino and descant (but still have very long rests), and the trebles (one part only) don't play anything for the first two minutes (and could nearly play their whole part on a tenor). Nevertheless, this is an interesting 12 minutes of music, which explores several different moods. The difficulties are primarily musical, rather than technical.
Sinfonietta No 2, for Three Choirs (DDDTrTrTrTTTBBB)
MHE 10308 £12.00
There is very little modern music for two or more choirs, and I thought that I would add to the very short list with a fairly substantial piece (of about 11 minutes). Of moderate difficulty only. MHE 10308a is the same piece, but with the addition of big basses to each choir.
Sinfonietta No 2, for three orchestras (DDDTrTrTrTTTBBBGtBGtBGtBCtBCtBCtB)
MHE 10308a £19.00
This is my Sinfonietta for three choirs MHE 10308, with added parts for big basses. The piece is now transformed into an orchestral work, with a considerable dynamic range.
Folk Song Suite (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 21104 £14.00
The Buxom Lass / Farewell, Dearest Nancy
A Sailor's Life / She Moved Through The Fair
The Bedmaking / The Rambling Sailor
Three pieces, each of which combines two traditional songs from the British Isles. The arrangements are not intended to be authentic in style - they are very rhythmic, with clear influences of the "folk-rock" movement of forty years ago. Always, however, the timeless melodies are allowed to come through, in music which is exciting yet tuneful. Moderately difficult in places.
Four Minimalist Studies for Recorder Orchestra (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 71109 £14.00
Study No 2
Study No 3
Study No 5
Study No 8
This set comprises arrangements for standard recorder orchestra of four of my quartets 'Eight Minimalist Studies' (MHE 10607). As with the quartets, these pieces are rather easier, rather shorter, rather less repetitive and rather more tuneful than 'normal' minimalist pieces, and so I hope they will find favour with groups of recorder players!
Gorged On Cheddar (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 51110a £14.50
Fanfare for the Cheddar Man
In Cheddar Wood
The Cheddar Cheese Variations
Gorged On Cheddar was the commissioned piece for the 2011 SRP National Festival, held at Cheddar in Somerset. The movements of this eleven minute suite were inspired by different locations in and around the town, and are fully described in the score. The difficulty is generally moderate, although three parts are a little easier, and descant 2 is much easier. A version for six recorders, including an extra movement, is available as MHE 51110, described on the 'Six Recorders' page.
Concerto for Two Recorders (soloists(2) SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10509 £15.00
I wrote this concerto for Margaret Shearing and David Scruby. The piece has an unusual structure in that although it falls pretty clearly into three movements, the movements blend into one another, giving a single 12-minute piece of music. Not only do the soloists therefore need considerable stamina, but they also need to change instruments – treble and tenor at the start becomes tenor and great bass, and ends with descant and treble. The solo parts are difficult, but not fearsomely so, and the orchestral accompaniment is not at all difficult.
Four Moods for Saxophone and Recorder Orchestra (Eb Sax, SnoDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10815 £15.00
I wrote this set of pieces for Helen Hooker and the Thames Valley Recorder Orchestra, who gave its first performance in June 2015, with the solo part played by myself. The pieces explore the very unusual sound world of a recorder orchestra and a low Eb saxophone. I performed it on a contrabass saxophone (tubax), which is an octave lower than a baritone. But it would also work well on the latter instrument, or even on an alto. The moods – capricious, purposeful, languid and persistent - are varied, and give a recorder orchestra the opportunity to play something out-of-the-ordinary and slightly jazzy. There are spaces for the soloist to improvise, but fully-notated alternatives are provided. Total performance time is about fourteen minutes.
Concerto Grosso (TTBsolo, DTrTrTTB)
MHE 40905 £15.50
I’m always keen to provide music for players who are short of repertoire. This rather unconventional (just glance at the names of the movements!) Concerto Grosso is for a solo trio together with a recorder ensemble. However, the solo trio I’ve chosen is two tenors and a bass, which gives a rare soloing opportunity for players of those instruments who ordinarily spend their time doing sterling stuff providing support for the higher instruments. The difficulty is no more than moderate for all parts, including the soloists.
Overture to 'Hercules' (Handel) (Hrps SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 61109 £16.00
Hercules is a musical drama in three acts, composed by Handel in 1744. The overture takes the traditional form of a slow introduction, followed by a lively (and rather difficult) contrapuntal allegro. The harpsichord part may be omitted. Playing time is about 5 minutes.
Lady Beverley's Chamber (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10117 £19.00
From the Windoe
Myrorym - was it a rat I saw?
Lady Beverley, her Dreame
I wrote this piece at the request of Helen Hooker, for the use of the chamber recorder orchestra at the 2017 Recorder Summer School. Although the suite was written with a one-to-a-part orchestra in mind, it could be played by a larger group. The 2017 Summer School took place near Beverley, hence explaining the rather punning title. Although the music stands on its own two feet, it may be of interest to know that, while writing the music, I did develop a little story from the title. The story suggests three episodes in a single evening in the life of Lady Beverley, the action taking place in her chamber, some hundreds of years ago. The titles of the movements make oblique reference to these episodes. This is quite difficult music, with a total playing time of about thirteen minutes.
Recorder Concerto No 2 (D solo, SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 11004 £19.00
Largo (leads straight into the Vivace)
Composed for Helen Hooker, who gave it its first performance at the Cheltenham Recorder Festival in July 2005. There are passages where the recorder orchestra creates exciting, driving rhythms, spurring on the soloist to ever-more virtuosic display, but then other passages of reflective, beautiful music. Although the solo part is very difficult in places, the orchestral parts should cause little difficulty for most orchestras.
The Swan In The Evening (Sno/DDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10803 £19.00
A set of variations for recorder orchestra on the traditional Irish folk song She Moved Through The Fair. Some variations are as one might expect (such as 'waltz' and 'canon'), but many are rather surprising (such as 'reggae' and 'jazz-rock'). All parts are guaranteed a very 'different' recorder experience in this substantial (15 minute) piece. Moderately difficult in places, and needs a very good player on the top part.
Symphony No 1 (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 31203 £17.00
A four movement symphony for recorder orchestra. This is by no means the only symphony for recorder orchestra, but its often insistent rhythms and jazz feel mark it out as something different. Not particularly difficult to play, as long as players count carefully, and have the courage of their convictions. There is some beautiful music for a solo great bass in the slow movement.
Symphony No 2 (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10605 £25.00
A second symphony for recorder orchestra, this time in three movements. The jazz influences in this symphony are much less obvious than in the first, although strong - even violent - rhythms are again much in evidence. In its quieter moments there are many attractive tunes, often tinged with sadness. There is nothing which is particularly difficult to play in this long (23 minute) piece, provided that extra care is taken with the rhythms.
Symphony No 3 (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 20307 £25.00
This symphony comes closer to jazz, blues and rock music than any other piece for recorders which I have written to date. Recorders can play that sort of music, and very well too, but it's really important to observe all of the articulations! It is dedicated to Pam Smith, with thanks for her support and for all of the talent and hard work she brings to bear on conducting my pieces.
Symphony No 4 (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 70810 £23.50
This symphony is written for a standard recorder orchestra. It is a very 'integrated' piece, in that there are a handful of ideas which appear in the first movement, and keep reappearing throughout all three movements. There are some sombre moments, but unsurprisingly some passages which sound suspiciously like rock music (especially in the last movement). This symphony is perhaps slightly easier to play than the first three.
Symphony No 5 (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 40812 £22.00
Fugue and Epilogue
This symphony is written for a standard recorder orchestra. For my fifth symphony I played in particular with two ideas – imitation between parts, and a big contrast between loud and quiet. There are several canons, and the first half of the last movement (the first music that I wrote) is a rather rumbustious fugue for orchestra. There are also extended passages for solo instruments – not least of which is at the very beginning of the piece.
Symphony No 6 (DDTrTrTTBBGtBGtBCtBCtB)
MHE 10814 £24.00
Prelude and Allegro
This symphony is written for two DTrTBGtBCtB orchestras. The orchestras should be seated a little distance apart to bring out the frequent antiphonal effects. The piece works well either played one-to-a-part or with larger forces.
Symphony No 7 (Voice, SnoDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10217 £24.00
Tragic Moon - Blue Moon
I wrote this symphony for a soprano voice and a recorder orchestra. The substantial (at nearly twenty minutes) symphony comprises settings of poems concerning the Moon, specially written by Judith Railton, and the voice is hence fundamental to the work. The music for the soprano is rather difficult, and requires both a big voice, and a range from Bb below the stave to top C. I was very fortunate to work with Judith Railton, who created such wonderful poems, and who was a terrific collaborator. It was also of huge value to work with the marvellous singer Alison Wray, who helped me to ensure that the finished result was challenging, but nevertheless singable.
Symphony No 8 (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 30417 £26.00
I wrote this symphony for Moira Usher and the Eastern Recorder Orchestra (EROS). In my previous two symphonies I worked with different forces (double choir and a voice), but this one returns to the UK’s traditional recorder orchestra instrumentation. I also took advantage of the fact that EROS contains some particularly talented players, to write the odd passage that could fairly be described as ‘challenging’! Total playing time is about nineteen minutes.
Symphony No 9 (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 40417 £23.00
1301: Granting of the Charter
1764: The Spinning Jenny & Cottonopolis
1894: Manchester Ship Canal
2006: Beetham Tower
I was asked to write a piece for the 70th anniversary of the Manchester Branch of the Society of Recorder Players. The exact type of piece was left up to me, and after working on it for a couple of weeks, it became obvious that it was going to be a large-scale work, and the result was this symphony, in which each movement was inspired by events in the history of Manchester. The symphony has fewer technical difficulties than my others to date, and I believe it could be tackled successfully by ensembles other than established recorder orchestras. The total performance time is about eighteen minutes.
Introduction & Fantasy (DTrTB solo, DDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 30805 £17.00
Written for Grace Barton to use at the 2006 Northern Recorder Course at an end-of-the-day playing session, involving all course participants. There is a solo quartet, two DTrTB choirs, and a "low choir" of great basses and contrabasses. The piece makes much use of antiphonal effects, posing as many problems for the conductor as for the players! The Introduction and the Fantasy share similar tunes, but these are treated vigorously in the first, and more reflectively in the second. No more than moderately difficult for players who can count confidently.
Blues Variations (SnoDDTrTrTTBBBGtBGtBGtBCtBCtBCtB optsubCtB subsubCtB)
MHE 11107 £18.00
Written for a joint performance by the Scottish Recorder Orchestra and The Dortmund Recorder Consort. This makes a very large ensemble, exceptionally well endowed with large basses, hence the somewhat bizarre instrumentation. The piece uses a small number of blues-like short themes which keep reappearing over the 10 minute duration, in different combinations, sometimes slightly modified. The overall effect is often rather complex, but the individual parts are no more than moderately difficult.
Triple Concerto (D/Sno,Tr,T solos DTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 20907 £18.50
Written for the trio Polyphonica, for a first performance at the 2008 Cheltenham Recorder Festival. The solo parts are difficult in places, while keeping just this side of virtuosic. The orchestral material is moderately difficult. The concerto is scored such that a regular recorder orchestra can be used without obscuring the soloists, but a chamber recorder orchestra would also work well. Playing time is about 16 minutes.
Divers Pages from the Middle Ages (SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 50509 £20.50
Ballade: Dieus Soit En Cheste Meson
La Seconde Estampie Royale
Ja Nuns Hons Pris
Motetus: Alle Psallite Cum Luya
This collection of seven medieval pieces comprises some tunes from other May Hill Edition titles and some new ones. Everything has been rearranged for standard recorder orchestra, with the added feature that D2, Tr2, T2 and B2 are significantly easier than the ‘1’ parts. The arrangements are hence well suited to mixed ability groups, on the assumption that the sopranino player is pretty good. This is eleven minutes of varied and interesting music from a period for which very little recorder orchestra music is available.
Concerto for Elody and Recorder Orchestra (Elody, DDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 20814 £21.00
In 2013 the recorder manufacturer Mollenhauer put the Elody - an electric recorder - on the market. I bought one, and wrote this concerto for it soon afterwards. It received its first two performances in the summer of 2014, with Helen Hooker as Elody soloist, accompanied by the Phoenix Recorder Orchestra conducted by Pam Smith. I was delighted that both audiences were very appreciative, and seemed to hear beyond the novelty of the instrument, to the music behind.
Three Poems (Concerto for Chinese Flute) (Chinese Flute SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10609 £23.00
Written for the player of the Chinese flute Yung-tai Liu, who plays a prominent part in the busy recorder scene in Taiwan. As far as both of us know, this is the first piece with such a combination of instruments. Each movement of the concerto is the soundtrack to a poem about elements of the natural world. Three Poems is written for a Chinese flute in C, but in the (likely) event of a suitable instrument and soloist being unavailable, the part fits on a treble recorder and the music works well on that instrument. Yung-tai Liu conducted this piece in late 2012, with his daughter Ting-yu Liu playing the solo part on treble recorder. You can see videos of this beautiful performance, including an entirely idiomatic improvisation by Ting-yu Liu to begin the third movement, on YouTube: The Mountains, The Sky and The Sea.
The Roaring Forties (SnoD(8)Tr(10)T(10)B(6)GtB(3)CtB(2))
MHE 30408 £24.00
I wrote The Roaring Forties for the 40th anniversary concert of the Stockport Recorder College. The Roaring Forties are the prevailing winds which whip around the southerm hemisphere at 40 degrees latitude; their danger, however, is not just that the winds are strong, but that the weather is so unpredictable. So the piece is boisterous in many places, but in other places you may be able to picture the swelling ocean and even – here and there - a patch of decent weather! Some parts are easy, and some of moderate difficulty, and when played well this is a very exciting 5 minutes of music.
Double Concerto (Tr, spinet solos, SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 21105 £25.00
Written for the duo of Caroline Jones and Rosemary Robinson. The solo parts are tricky, but the orchestra parts are of normal recorder orchestra difficulty only. Given that the instruments used are so gentle, this concerto includes much muscular music, guaranteed to stir the sleepiest audience. The spinet could be replaced by a harpsichord, or even a piano.
Six Scroobious Songs (Voice, DTrTrTTBBBGtBGtBCtBCtB)
MHE 10916 £25.00
Songs 1 and 2
Songs 3 and 4
Songs 5 and 6
These songs were written for the soprano Portia Kitcher, and for Chris Burgess, director of the Hampshire Recorder Sinfonia, for a first performance in June 2017. The songs are settings of six poems by Edward Lear. There are three pairs of songs, each pair comprising a short limerick, quickly followed by a longer poem. The voice extends from a D to the A a twelfth higher. This is not a large vocal range, but the writing assumes a reasonably powerful voice. The accompanying orchestra is a sextet of solo players, with the rest of the orchestra divided into another six parts. Total performance time is about thirteen minutes.
In The Silent West (soprano voice, solo TrTB, SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 11110a £27.00
The sun just touched the morning
As imperceptibly as grief
She sweeps with many-colored brooms
On this wondrous sea
A much larger-scale version of MHE 11110 (see Three Recorders page), involving a soprano voice, solo trio and full recorder orchestra. The songs are little changed, but there is a lot of new and important material for the orchestra. A big project for a recorder orchestra, but given a good soprano and recorder trio, not too difficult.
Four Mini-Adventures (GarSnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBGtBCtBCtBsubCtBsubsubCtB)
MHE 11208 £27.00
Comic Book Cover
Hall Of Mirrors
Funk In The Afternoon
I wrote Four Mini-Adventures for Dietrich Schnabel and the Blockflötenconsort Dortmund - a large recorder orchestra, with a sizeable bass department, including subcontrabasses and a subsubcontrabass. The pieces are very colourful, and try to use the range of the orchestra to its full, even adding a garklein for good measure. They can be played as a group, or individually. Each piece could even be used as an (albeit slightly eccentric) 'encore'.
Notturno in D for four orchestras K286 (Mozart) (Sno(3)D(4)Tr(6)T(8)B(4)CtB(3))
MHE 11109 £38.00
Mozart’s K286 Notturno, written for New Year’s Day 1777, was a daring experiment. He used four small orchestras, each consisting of strings and two horns, constructing music in which each idea in the first orchestra was echoed by the second, third and fourth in turn. I think that my arrangement for 28 recorders would work well in interesting spaces, where imaginative use of separate rooms, balconies, etc would create a fascinating experience for both players and audience. The music is quite easy to play, but careful counting of rests is essential. Total playing time is about 12 minutes.
Serenade for Gemshorns and Recorder Orchestra (SSAATTBB Gemshorns, SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10110 £30.00
Minuet and Trio
Every year there is a significant gemshorn presence at the Northern Recorder Course. I wrote this Serenade for the 2010 NRC, so that the National Gemshorn Orchestra could be featured with all participants in one of the course massed playing sessions. A version of the Serenade is also available (MHE 10110a) in which a recorder octet is used instead of the gemshorn ensemble.
Serenade for Recorder Octet and Recorder Orchestra (TrTrTTTTBB, SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 10110a £30.00
This piece is a re-arrangement of the Serenade that features eight gemshorn soloists (available as MHE10110).
Harpsichord Concerto in Dm BWV 1052 (Harps SnoDTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 10113 £35.00
For some years I had the ambition to arrange the orchestral material of this marvellous concerto for a recorder ensemble. If I had realised what a huge task it would be, I would have quietly shelved the idea. But I am delighted with the result. I am very grateful to Rosemary Robinson, who undertook the major task of editing the keyboard part, particularly to observe modern conventions of notation, such as beaming. Rest assured, however, that every note of the original music is there. Similarly the material for strings is as faithful to the original as I could possibly make it. The first performance of this arrangement was at the 2013 Northern Recorder Course, with Helen Hooker conducting and Rosemary Robinson the spinet soloist. Total performance time is about 22 minutes.
Spam In Atrium (GarSno(2)D(8)Tr(8)T(8)B(8)GtB(4)CtB(2))
MHE 11006 £37.00
Written for the 2007 Northern Recorder Course, to use in a session involving all course participants. A big event seemed to call for a big piece, and this one is in 41 independent parts: four choirs of DDTrTrTTBB, the 'Tinnitus Consort' (garklein and two sopraninos), and 'Ensemble Rumblissimo' (four great basses and two contras). The piece is dedicated to Justine Spence, who encouraged me to write something 'Honey Nut Loopy' - I hope I managed it! Spam In Atrium is very loosely based both on Mussorgsky's Pictures At An Exhibition, and also Tallis's 40-part motet Spem In Alium, but my "pictures" are in a variety of approachable modern styles, including rock, jazz and minimalism. The high instruments (even the garklein!) must play nicely in tune. The notes in this 22 minute piece are not difficult, but everyone needs to count very carefully.
Grabbed From Gabrieli (D solo, SnoDDTrTrTTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 70608 £42.00
Prelude: Inclina Domine
Grabbed From Gabrieli
I wrote Grabbed From Gabrieli for a massed playing session at the 2008 Northern Recorder Course. It's a huge piece, comprising a 2-minute prelude, then a single movement lasting nearly 35 minutes. Just as a bit of fun this latter section is exactly 1,000 bars long. The prelude is Gabrieli's 'Inclina Domine', which I have left unaltered, except for expanding its original 6 parts to 12, by means of doubling, mainly at 8' pitch. Then the main show begins. The piece is minimalist in approach, and a basic pulse is set up, which is unending. Over this, fragments of Inclina Domine are gradually introduced, and these fragments (together with some of my own tunes) are combined in various ways. The performance on the course went very well, and people found it an interesting, perhaps unique, experience to play and concentrate for such a long time. It is accessible to most people, as the notes themselves (other than for the soloist) are reasonably easy.