‘Pictures of Bristol’ – an orchestral suite

‘Pictures of Bristol’ – an orchestral suite

‘Pictures of Bristol’ is a three-movement suite for symphony orchestra. It depicts three Bristol scenes: the Avon Gorge, the Downs, and the Harbour. These were written for the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Brunel Sinfonia in March 2015, and performed in the Victoria Rooms concert hall in Bristol. Premiere: The Brunel Sinfonia, The Victoria Rooms, Bristol, March 22nd 2015 (Conductor: Mark Gateshill) Programme Notes: Movement 1, ‘The Gorge’, begins with an angular motif featuring large intervallic leaps. The metre of this main theme fluctuates between three and four in a bar. The woodwind first play the theme, with strings echoing it in turn. A second theme is heard shortly afterwards in the celli and then with an answering phrase in the woodwind. As this second theme is passed around the orchestra, offbeat fragments of the first are heard in the woodwind. Rapid modulations serve to further illustrate the gorge’s rocky, changeable nature. After a recap of the first section, there is a clarinet solo accompanied by punctuated ‘col legno’ strings. After this, the music becomes graver and the metre changes to 4/2, with a new minor theme heard first in the brass and then adopted by strings. The woodwind interjects with fragments of the first theme which become increasingly frequent and insistent. Finally, the first theme returns in full for the movement’s conclusion. Movement 2, ‘At the Harbour’ seeks to portray a more mellow and serene mood, evoking Bristol’s waterfront. The main theme is an elegant, major melody despite some unpredictable changes metre. Soft pulsing crotchets in the accompaniment outline the harmony. The woodwind enter with a second theme, also...
June 2014: ‘Journey’s End’

June 2014: ‘Journey’s End’

I was asked to score ‘Journey’s End’ by Sherriff, a harrowing and heartfelt play about the First World War. Here, my music served to break up the scenes because the director chose not to have physical changes of scene. The music mirrors the bleakness of the main character’s psychological state and the outlook for the soldiers on the Front, with moments of great anguish and despair. The final track was to be looped until the last of the audience had left the theatre. To listen to the recording of ‘Journey’s End’, please click...
2013: ‘Antigone’

2013: ‘Antigone’

‘Antigone’ by Sophocles, directed by Brian Parsons, featured an eerie Dali-esque setting in an undefined 1960s totalitarian location. The chorus, traditionally old men, were in this case war widows with defined personalities who delivered the choric odes a few lines each in turn. The music needed to be subtle and unobtrusive, yet underline the message and mood of each ode. Antigone’s appearances were underscored by extracts of John Tavener’s music, and this certainly influenced the style of my writing. A review by Richard Hudson stated: “Such was the intensity of this production that it was hard to believe that all was over in 70 minutes. The set, lighting, (…) not to mention music to accompany the musings and moralisings of the chorus composed by Caz Besterman… it was often difficult not to imagine oneself in a professional production.” To listen to the recording, please click here....