Hungarian Peasant Songs (Set 1) (DTrTrTTB)
MHE 10122 £12.00
Nos 9 and 10
Bartok arranged fifteen traditional folk melodies for the piano. This is big, dramatic music, and so Bartok may have been surprised to know that – nearly a century later – an ambitious arranger set some of them for a recorder ensemble! These brief pieces are not at all difficult and actually work very well on recorders. Parts are provided for optional big basses.
Anniversary Fantasia (DTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 10520 £8.50
I wrote this piece at the request of Sheila and Stephen Marlowe, whose 50th Wedding Anniversary was approaching, and who wanted a new piece to be played at the celebrations. The brief was for a light piece, no more than four minutes long, and definitely not involving arrangement of any famous wedding marches!
Introduction to Under Milk Wood (DTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 11120 £8.00
This publication comprises music that, I hope, is sympathetic to the opening paragraphs of ‘Under Milk Wood’ by Dylan Thomas. The music is unusual for recorder ensembles. It is mood music, the sort that often goes by unnoticed while watching a film. I have conducted this music several times, with groups who are familiar with Thomas’s play (or to whom I have explained it in advance), and it has worked well and was greatly appreciated.
Three Chorales and Improvisations (Sno DTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 21120 £9.00
These pieces were another result of our running events for ‘Easy Recorder Orchestra’. The chorales are particularly easy – on occasions they were successfully negotiated by players who were not far off beginners. The ‘twist’ is that each piece includes a line for a solo sopranino. These solo parts are not virtuosic, but they are high, need dexterity, and require some degree of courage because they are frighteningly prominent! By the way, improvisation is not involved – ‘improvisation’ refers to the improvisatory feel of the solo part. On the first performance we were fortunate to have the sopranino services of the wonderful Helen Hooker, and the texture of the whole was interesting, almost ethereal.
Bach to the Future (DTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 30121 £14.00
Minuet in G BWV Anh. 114
Shaff's mit mir, Gott BWV 514
Musette in D BWV Anh. 126
I wrote this set of three pieces for a massed playing session at the 2019 Autumn Recorder Orchestra Weekend, held at Hoddesdon. The idea behind them is that if J S Bach had had the opportunity of listening to some 20th century jazz and blues, some of his music would have turned out a little differently. So I wrote three examples of what he might have done. Everyone on the course, of whatever playing standard, was going to play in the session, and so the music is no more than moderately difficult. All went well, and the ghost of Herr Bach fortunately did not make an appearance.
Fortuna Desperata (Busnois/Agricola) (DTrTrTBB)
MHE 30421 £8.00
Three-part chanson (Busnois)
Six-part version (Agricola)
My arrangement of 'Fortuna Desperata' is not a ‘scholarly edition’. My objective was to allow recorder groups to dip their toes in the water of medieval music, using modern notation. The music allows players (and their audiences) to ease themselves into what might be an unfamiliar musical world. Everyone begins with the tune, followed by the easy-on-the-ear original of Busnois, culminating in the Agricola arrangement which is liberally sprinkled with surprising notes.
Miniature Suite for Harpsichord and Recorders (Hrpsch, DTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 11206a £16.00
This suite, originally for harp and recorders, was written at the request of Sue Danbury, for use by a recorder group in Clun. This group regularly played with a harpist, and unsurprisingly there was no music available for harp and recorder ensemble together. I rearranged the suite for use at the 2012 Northern Recorder Course, when Rosemary Robinson was the harpsichord player. The recorder parts are of moderate difficulty only.
Sinfonietta No 3 (DTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 20122a £13.50
Nowadays there are many substantial pieces for large groups of recorders - for example there is no shortage of recorder orchestra symphonies. What many substantial pieces have in common is that they are difficult to play and that they are written in many parts. I wanted to break this particular mould and write a symphonic piece that could be tackled by players of modest ability. My third sinfonietta is the result. It has found favour by the players I was aiming it at, and it seems to me that the four movements work together somewhat like an early symphony. Well, at any rate its eight-minute duration is similar to some early Haydn symphonies! The piece is also available for a DTrTB quartet, as MHE 20122.
Anthem: Praise The Lord (SnoDTrTTB)
MHE 10204a £4.50
This reflective piece is based on a tiny A-C-G motif which sets the words "Praise The Lord". The anthem is only short, but the motif is heard over 20 times in various parts. Easy, although the sopranino will have to work a little to phrase smoothly a melody which includes some wide leaps. See the next piece (MHE 10204) for a lower setting.
Chaconne for Recorder Sextet (DTrTTBB)
MHE 30903 £4.50
A chaconne with a wistful feel. Not a difficult piece. Also works well if one tenor part and one bass part are played an octave lower on great bass and contrabass.
Thule, The Period Of Cosmography (Thomas Weelkes) (DDTrTTB)
MHE 40703 £5.75
Possibly the first time this strangely-titled, but beautiful madrigal has been transcribed for recorders. Quite easy. For a lower setting, see the next piece (MHE 40703a).
Ein Kleines Geburtstagsphantasiestück (D(orSno)TrTTBB)
MHE 10804 £5.75
Written as a birthday present, this 'little birthday fantasy' goes through various contrasting moods before a famous birthday tune is played at the end, to the accompaniment of many of the melodies which were featured before. Fun, but quite tricky.
Variations on À Chantar (DTrTrTTB)
MHE 20108a £5.75
This is a rearrangement in six parts of my 'easy' recorder orchestra arrangement of a 14th Century French tune (MHE 20108), which is listed on the 'More than Six Recorders' page.
'Sunrise' Fantasy (William Lawes) (DDTrTTB)
MHE 30108 £6.50
This fantasy, from Lawes' 8th Consort Set for viols, seems to have acquired the title 'Sunrise', although I can't find any evidence that that name was given to it by Lawes himself. The reason for the title is immediately obvious - the opening of this beautiful piece features slowly ascending lines which certainly seem to represent the sun rising. Reasonably easy. For a lower setting, see the next piece (MHE 30108a).
Hard Times (DTrTrTTB(orGtB))
MHE 31109 £6.50
I wrote Hard Times as a curtain-raiser for a playing day where good players were going to work on pieces involving challenging rhythms. The piece has constantly changing time signatures, and is hence a rhythmic study for ensembles; despite that I think that it is also an interesting piece of music.
MHE 30814 £7.50
This is my arrangement of the well-known Siciliano from Bach’s Flute Sonata No 2 BWV1031. I made the arrangement at the request of Cambridge U3A, in memory of a former member, Paul Jennings. Quite apart from the fact that the key is now much more recorder-friendly than the original Eb, the arrangement makes no claim to authenticity, but it is guaranteed to go down well with non-specialist audiences.
I Love My Love (Holst) (TrTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 80715 £8.00
Holst wrote his arrangement of this Cornish folk song with four flats in the key signature. This was OK for a SATB choir, but I have rearranged it to make it more accessible to recorder groups, while hopefully preserving the beauty of the original. The notes are not difficult, but the speed changes often, as does the mood of the music, so considerable work will be needed to produce an excellent performance. Playing time is about five minutes.
The Leaves Be Blue (DTrTTBB)
MHE 20706 £8.00
Most recorder players will have played one of the many pieces based on the tune 'The Leaves Be Green' (or 'Browning' as it's often called). The Leaves Be Blue is my take on the famous melody, and sees it surrounded by bluesy chords and rhythms. The notes are not particularly difficult, but as always with this style, articulations and rhythms need close attention.
News at Ten Blues (TrTrTTBB)
MHE 10311 £8.00
Before the Break
After the Break
Helen Hooker asked me to write something 'jazzy' for the advanced ensemble at the 2011 Recorder Summer School, and this is the result. News at Ten Blues does not try to picture specific events in the news, but rather suggest the format of today's News broadcasts – quick changes from one subject to another. There is also a hint of one of those short 'news-lite' items just before the break! This is six minutes of reasonably difficult music for an ensemble (and its conductor too).
Four Pieces From The 13th Century (DTrTrTTB)
MHE 20905 £8.50
Ballade: Dieus Soit En Cheste Meson
Motetus: Alle Psallite Cum Luya
Motetus: In Seculum Viellatoris
These are arrangements of some examples of very early French polyphony. The tunes are bare and beautiful. The original manuscripts were in three parts, but they have been expanded into six parts by means of doubling, which gives them a colour and variety which sounds good, but which may well not be authentic.
Bagatelle for Clarinet and Recorder Sextet (Clnt, DTrTrTTB)
MHE 10918 £9.00
I was asked if I had any music for clarinet and recorder ensemble. I realised that ‘Fun Little Tunes for Harriet's Bassoon’ (MHE40808), for bassoon and recorders would work well, with some reworking, and here it is – reborn as a Bagatelle. The clarinet is capable of many moods, but this piece concentrates on the quirky and playful side of its personality. It does get a bit romantic in the slower middle section, but quirkiness is quickly restored and lasts until the very end, when the piece confidently ends in what is more than likely the 'wrong' key. Four minutes of musical fun!
Three Sinfonias by Cristofano Malvezzi (DDTrTTB)
MHE 20114 £9.00
Malvezzi (1547–1599) was an Italian organist and composer of the late Renaissance. He was one of the most famous composers in the city of Florence, and served the Medici family as a musician from the tender age of fifteen. These sinfonia were instrumental interludes in a theatrical performance that took place for a large Florentine Wedding in 1589. Despite their dance-like feel, this is refined and elegant music. Total playing time is about four minutes.
May Hill Rhapsody (Tr solo, DDTrTrTB)
MHE 10310a £9.00
This pastoral piece contrasts a fairly difficult treble 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 (MHE10310) for descant soloist with TrTrTTBGtBCtB; this is listed on the 'More Than Six Recorders' page. Total playing time is about 6 minutes.
Fun Little Tunes for Harriet's Bassoon (Bsn DTrTrTTB)
MHE 40808 £9.00
The bassoon is capable of many moods, but Harriet Oliver asked me for a piece which concentrated on its quirky and playful side. It does get a bit romantic in the slower middle section, but quirkiness is quickly restored and lasts until the very end, when the piece confidently ends in what is more than likely the 'wrong' key! Total playing time is about four minutes.
Three Songs by Thomas Campion (DTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 51109 £9.00
There Is A Garden In Her Face
The Cypress Curtain Of The Night
Never Love Unless You Can
Thomas Campion (1567-1620) was famous in his day as both poet and musician. His fame as a musician rested primarily on his skill as a composer of songs with lute accompaniment, a field in which he was prolific, second only to Dowland. This collection comprises straightforward arrangements for recorder orchestra of three of Campion's lute-songs. Total playing time is about 6 minutes.
Four Pieces For Recorder Sextet (DTrTTBBorCtB)
MHE 41203 £9.00
Exhilaration is the Breeze
Patience - has a quiet Outer
This slow Day moved along
Time does go on
Moderately difficult but interesting and varied music. The second bass part works very well on a contrabass, if available.
Summer Sextet (T/Sno T/DT/Tr BGtBCtB)
MHE 10704 £9.50
The three movements paint varied pictures, from a lazy summer afternoon to a frightening night in the woods, and the changes of mood, tempo and instruments will pose something of a challenge for six good players. The great bass and contrabass are nearly essential, although they could be read onto tenor and bass to get a rough idea of the music. The piece is also available for larger forces as the Sinfonietta (MHE 10405), which is listed on the 'More than Six Recorders' page.
Totally Tropical (TBGtBGtBCtBCtB)
MHE 10706 £9.50
Totally Tropical is a suite of three pieces written for the Plymouth-based group Incerti. This group makes much use of bigger recorders, hence the unusual instrumentation. Why 'tropical'? While writing it I had pictures in my mind of desert islands, jungles, beach parties and the like. There are some mellow passages, but also passages with sprightly syncopated rhythms which will need good big bass players to pull off. For a higher setting, see the next piece (MHE 10706a).
A Celtic Cluster (DTrTrTTB)
MHE 10905 £10.00
The Road To Lisdoonvarna
The Harvest Home
The Star Of The County Down
Old John's Jig
Many recorder players will be familiar with Paul Clark's excellent 'Irish Suite', but given the vast array of traditional Irish tunes I thought there was room for at least another set of arrangements from the Emerald Isle! Two of these pieces need a certain dexterity, especially in the upper parts, and especially at the marked speeds, but there's nothing too virtuosic. Great fun to play, and listen to. Also available for recorder orchestra (MHE 10905a), listed on the 'More than Six Recorders' page.
Four Seasonal Sketches (DTrTTBB)
MHE 20504 £10.00
These little pieces are sketches of typical scenes throughout the year. The notes are not too difficult (except for a few bars in Autumn), but some work will be needed to find the right mood in each piece. Winter is the same as the low setting of Anthem: Praise The Lord.
Four For Glasgow's Fifty (DTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 10211 £10.00
I wrote Four For Glasgow's Fifty for the fiftieth anniversary of the Glasgow branch of the Society of Recorder Players. It is essentially a medley of four traditional Scottish tunes, although an attentive listener may spot hints of each tune cropping up from time to time within the other tunes. This six minute piece has its trickier moments at the marked speeds, but it also works well at more modest speeds.
The Bold Pirate (DTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 10418 £10.50
I wrote this set of variations at the request of the Bristol-based sextet the Bristowe Consort, as part of their twentieth birthday celebrations. The tune on which the piece is based is the traditional ‘The Bold Pirate’, and its many verses begin with…'‘Twas on the 12th of March, my boys, from Bristol we set sail'. Total playing time of this moderately difficult piece is about six minutes.
Festival Fantasy (DTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 30808 £10.50
I wrote this for the closing massed playing session of the 2008 Cheltenham Recorder Festival, where it was conducted by Pam Smith. Although I say so myself the piece is quite cunningly written, in that almost the entire nine minutes is based on the first two bars. Those bars may come back at different speeds, in different keys or with different articulations, but they are never far away. You have to wait until bar 150 for some genuinely new melodic material. The result (I hope) is that the whole piece feels like a unit, even though it goes through several moods. This piece is quite resilient – it would work well one-to-a-part, with a small or large orchestra, or with a hundred people (as it was done, very impressively, at the Cheltenham Recorder Festival).
Winter Bike Rides On The Wirral (DTrTrTTB)
MHE 10206 £11.00
Icy Lanes Around Eastham
Dawn Near Thurstaston Hill
New Brighton Just Before Christmas
This suite was written after I was asked to write something about bike riding along wintry lanes, including feelings of cold, speed and danger. I thought back to specific places on the Wirral where I cycled as a child in the wintertime, and tried to reflect some of that in music. This is all a pretty specific programme for six recorders, but nothing ventured, nothing gained! Moderately tricky in places.
Concertino Omnibus (Tr solo, DTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 10415a £11.50
This piece is a version with recorder orchestra accompaniment of Concertino Omnibus (MHE 10415), described on the Four Recorders page. There is also a version (MHE10415b) for treble recorder and piano.
Prelude & Fugue in C (J S Bach) (BWV 553) (DTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 70715 £11.50
This prelude and fugue is one of Bach’s ‘Eight Little Preludes and Fugues’. After some years of doubt, the body of opinion nowadays is that these were indeed written by Bach, and that he wrote them for a clavichord equipped with pedals. Such an instrument is rather quiet and gentle, but my recorder arrangement is rather powerful and exciting, more in the style of the frequent performances on mighty church organs. Total performance time is about five minutes.
A Suite from Handel's Water Music (DTrTBGtBCtB)
MHE 10318 £12.50
Handel’s Water Music needs no introduction, as one of the best-known pieces of ‘classical’ music. The piece is very well-represented in the world of recorder arrangements, except perhaps for groups of modest technical ability, who are in possession of a great bass and a contrabass. My arrangement of some of the best-loved numbers from Handel’s suite is therefore straightforward, but produces a rich sound, pleasing to players and audiences alike. Total playing time is about seven minutes.
The Story of the Red Book of Montserrat (DTrTBGtBCtB Percn)
MHE 20714 £14.00
Ad Mortem Festinamus
This publication enables a twelve-minute telling of the fascinating story of the medieval Red Book of Montserrat, complete with five musical illustrations. The music (of no more than moderate difficulty could be played on its own, as five short medieval pieces.
Gorged On Cheddar (DTrTrTTB)
MHE 51110 £16.50
Fanfare for the Cheddar Man
Bats in the Cheddar Caves
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 substantial (fifteen minute) suite were inspired by different locations in and around the town, and are fully described in the score. The difficulty is moderate. A version of three of the movements, for recorder orchestra, is available as MHE 51110a, described on the 'More than Six Recorders' page.
Recorder Concerto No 1 (Dsolo TrTBBGtBCtB)
MHE 70303a £18.00
This mildly jazzy piece can be performed with a soloist and only six players, although a larger ensemble would still provide a good balance. The orchestra parts are never more than moderately hard, although unsurprisingly the solo part needs a very good player. This piece supersedes MHE 70303 (with a treble soloist), which is now withdrawn.
Inspired by Elizabeth (TTBGtBCtBCtB optSubCtB)
MHE 10219 £18.50
Sweet Suffolk Owl
The Female Highwayman
I wrote this set of pieces for the Mellow Tones Recorder Orchestra (METRO), Helen Hooker’s eight-foot recorder orchestra - hence the unusual combination of instruments. METRO rehearses near Stevenage, and I found that the composer Elizabeth Poston was born, lived and died in that town. So writing music related to Stevenage became a possibility, although the relationship turned out not to be all that obvious, and is too involved to go into here! Suffice it to say that I was variously inspired by Elizabeth Poston's choice of sources, and I hope that I managed to unite everything into a coherent suite by using a definite hint of jazz, and some similar and exciting rhythms. Please note that I used none of Elizabeth Poston’s own music - just as well, because she will remain in copyright for some years! Performance time is about eight minutes.