LISTEN : below are a selection of pieces available to listen online
PERFORM : scores of music are available to buy as downloads or professionally printed copies
songs for marvellous (2014-2018)
This is the world premiere of 'Songs for Marvellous', composed in memory of my son who was born far too early in 2014. The song cycle was envisaged as piece that could be performed either in full or just using excerpts, with varying instrumentation. Other pieces in the cycle include: 'Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep' and 'Then the Letting Go - Sibling'. It was a way to grieve, heal and keep our son in our lives.
9th October 2014
The first song of the cycle was written a month after Marvellous was born. It's wordless. I had no way of externalising how I was feeling and this song was a start.
Child and Mother/ A Te (poet Eugene Field)
Composed between 2017 and 2018, this song takes the mother away from her troubles, guided by her loving child.
Songs for my Children (poet Eugene Field)
Commissioned by Hull Contemporary Opera Collective
Dedicated to my Village, this song is a lullaby that is for all three of my children, and the final piece of the cycle. It began life as a 1st birthday song for Marvellous - the piano part is a reworking of 'Happy Birthday'. Marvellous was born in Italy, and there they sing: 'Tanti Auguri a Te' - Many wishes to you.
Poppy Shotts - Soprano
Stephanie Halsey - Harp
Ben Newton - Piano
at Hull Contemporary Opera Collective, 18th and 19th July 2014.
With thanks to Russell Plows of HUOC for commissioning the final song in the cycle.
The light (2017)
Commissioned by Streetwise Opera Premiered 10th March 2017, Gosforth Civic Thretre, Newcastle
Libretto by Newcastle/Gateshead Performers
It has been a fantastic experience working with the Streetwise Opera Newcastle/Gateshead performers, workshop leaders and the Streetwise Opera team. The brief for writing the libretto was: 'You're on top of a mountain, darkness has fallen and you cannot see a step in front or behind you. Then a light appears. Do you trust it?' This is our response.
then the letting go (sibling)
Commissioned by Meredith Moore Premiered 19th June 2015, Shapeshifter Lab, New York Poet: Emily Dickinson
Mezzo-Soprano, Horn, Cymbals
This work was commissioned by Meredith Moore for the occasion of her 30th birthday. The brief was to write something close to my heart, so I decided to incorporate this piece into a work-in-progress, ‘Songs for Marvellous’. This song-cycle is dedicated to the memory of my son, Marvellous, who was stillborn on 3rd September 2014. Emily Dickinson's poem, 'After a great pain a formal feeling comes', explores the existence of grief in our lives and the journey we take when we lose someone we love. I was particularly taken by the line ‘This is the Hour of Lead’ – in fact, it haunted me. I took the title of the piece from the last line of the poem: '- then the letting go'. I was unable to set the line as I hadn't/ haven't yet reached that point of my journey, but I wanted to honour the poem and the possibility that I may be able to come back to it.
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep (2014)
Commissioned by Carvetii Trio Premiered 7th December 2014, Lanercost Priory Poet: Mary Elizabeth Frye (1932)
Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano
In the autumn of 2014, I lost both my unborn son, Marvellous, and my Nanny, Vita Pinto. This poem struck me initially as Marvellous was born in Italy and we had an awful experience trying and failing to bring him home. It then chimed with me again at my Nanny's funeral as we all stood around her grave singing our hearts out as we said goodbye. This piece is written with the utmost love.
A Domani, People. A Domani (2013)
Commissioned by Royal Philharmonic Society Premiered 1st November 2013, Barbican Hall, London Guildhall Young Artists
Guitar, Flute, Viola & Cello
This piece broke a year’s worth of self-imposed, yet impenetrable, composers’ block and despite its origins being in anger and frustration, the end result is joyful and even playful at times. This piece is dedicated to my ‘Self’; to that person who is so easy to take for granted, yet sometimes you just need to be a little kinder to.
Lesser Trefoil (2012)
Commissioned by Clare Whistler Premiered on 30 June 2012, City of London Festival Performed by Hannah Watts
Solo piece for high voice & flute
Commissioned for the 'Where the Wildflowers Are' concert that explored wildflowers through poetry and music. Using the voice and flute from one performer, this piece explores the characteristics of Lesser Trefoil, a common lawn weed with pretty yellow flowers.
Shunned Street (2011)
Commissioned by Leeds Lieder + Festival Mezzo Soprano & Piano Poet: Joanne Brandon
Shunned Street was inspired by the legend of Pope Joan, a female pope who was only discovered not to be male when she gave birth whilst on procession. It is said that even today this street is shunned by the Pope's procession. It was absolutely fantastic to work with poet Jo Brandon.
I Remember. Like I'm the Only (2012)
Written as part of the Adopt a Composer scheme Premiered on 13th October 2012 at the Musical Museum Kew Wind Orchestra
I Remember. Like I’m the Only is inspired by the Row for Freedom team of five women who rowed across the Atlantic, breaking two world records whilst raising awareness of human trafficking.
I wanted to explore the idea of being in a situation that nobody else could ever experience; the insecurity, fear, loneliness, awe and countless other indescribable emotions that may be endured by an individual when venturing into the unknown, whether by choice or by force.
N.B. The piece starts very quietly
... and you know we'll be alright? (2011)
In Memoriam Pili Marchori For Orchestra
... and you know we’ll be alright? was written in 2011 during a period of both foreseen and unforeseen changes. A futile melody bumbles along and is enveloped and obliterated by the chord invading the orchestra and destroying everything in its wake.
… and you know we’ll be alright? is dedicated to those people whose lives have been affected by cancer and commemorates the incredible strength shown by both sufferers and their loved ones that this experience inevitably evokes.
N.B. The piece starts very quietly