2018: ‘The Pity of War’

Caz undertook a commission from St Chad’s Music Festival and Shrewsbury Bookfest to compose and direct her World War 1 songs for choir. A large-scale concert held in Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn, ‘The Pity of War’, took place in November 2018. The first half of the evening showcased Caz’s compositions ‘In Flanders Fields’ and other songs. The second featured a new work by top composer Bob Chilcott. With almost one hundred young local singers, Caz directed the ‘Bookfest Remembers Choir’ in a performance which met with great acclaim and was recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio. The concert formed part of a Shropshire-wide programme to commemorate the end of the Great War. Scroll down ‘Testimonials’ to view feedback for this... read more

2017 London Premiere for ‘In Flanders Fields’

The five poems of this set were given their first London performance by the excellent Etcetera Civil Service Choir. The commemorative concert took place in the Horseguards Parade. Director Stephen Hall, commented: ‘We very much enjoyed working on the pieces and performing them, and they were definitely appreciated by the audience.  We are likely to perform them again this... read more

2016: Caz goes Pop!

In September I was invited to play the string tracks for the beautiful song ‘Version of Me’ by ex-Spice Girl Melanie C. Produced by the talented Tom Wilding, Melanie C’s song hit the charts for months. I played all the tracks which were layered up to create a rich sound, using both violin and viola for extra... read more

2015: Bookfest Remembers

2015:  Bookfest Remembers is featured in Shropshire Council’s Video ‘The Pity of War’ – see Caz Besterman explaining more about the project at 7.00 – 7.46.... read more

‘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... read more

November 2015: ‘Bookfest Remembers’

This project was commissioned by Shrewsbury Bookfest to mark the centenary of World War 1. My brief was to compose several new songs for a youth choir of upper voices, using poetry from WW1, to be performed in a large-scale community concert. The event had a particular link to Gallipoli 1915, and the songs included a poem by the Australian poet Leon Gellert. I was also appointed as Musical Director and I worked with the Bookfest committee to bring the project to completion. The songs were premiered by a combined choir of 120 young singers from different schools around the county. There were also several high-profile bands and choirs such as the Military Wives’ Choir from Shawbury and the Abraham Darby Academy Showband. The concert was filmed for the Arts Council and was recorded by the BBC, with Vicki Archer as presenter. A special programme of the concert was broadcast on BBC Radio Shropshire on Christmas Day.   BBC Shropshire broadcast of the concert:   Taster film: Bookfest Remembers 2015 (Director: Nick Fogg)     Bookfest Remembers Programme (Final): produced by Creative Digital (click to view)   Radio interview with Eric Smith, BBC Radio Shropshire 7th November 2015 http://cazbesterman.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/interview-AAC-audio.mp3  ... read more

2014: ‘In Flanders Fields’

‘In Flanders Fields’ is a set of evocative new songs aimed at school, college and church choirs, and perfect for any WW1 centenary event or concert. The five songs reflect a nation’s journey through the Great War, from optimism to despair and ultimately grief. Presented chronologically, poetry by the most famous war poets including Sassoon and Owen is set to poignant music accessible to singers of an intermediate standard. With optional extra parts, the songs are equally suitable for solo, duet, SAB/ mixed voices, junior or girls’ choir. Performance time: 15 mins Published by Shorterhouse, the songbook was featured in the ABCD choral exhibition in August 2014. To buy your copy, go to: UK: www.shorterhouse.com/worldwarone.html USA: www.edition-peters.com/works/modern/Besterman-Caz... read more

‘The Woman who Painted Dreams’

An exciting new venture in collaboration with Jonathan James, The Woman who Painted Dreams is a set of songs designed for use as progressive exercises and performance by intermediate and advanced level choirs. Unaccompanied SATB. Available soon.... read more

One

This short was scored by kind permission of Jim Le Fevre. It seems to embody a loneliness and drudgery while at the same time a kind of otherworldliness and beauty. The music is live piano, with three different motifs intertwined and overlaid to create a... read more

Slate

This advert is originally from NFTS. The music is quirky and upbeat, with the texture and instrumentation reflecting changes such as night to day, while the persistent saxophone motif unifies and drives forward the whole.... read more

Soundtrack

This video gives a flavour of the ‘Soundtrack’ Project in Bristol which I helped to direct. Working with young composers, we interviewed elderly people at a residential home and used the details and stories of their lives as a stimulus for new compositions. Parts of the compositions for which I was the mentor can be seen here along with extracts of the final... read more

Feral Youth

This trailer is for a novel by Polly Courtney about the issues leading up to and during the London riots of 2011. The main character finds herself caught between two worlds, with music a projection of this – grime and minimalist piano music find themselves in contention. The ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ is significant to the plot – read the book to discover... read more