Nocturnes, a new string quartet, and a piano trio
2022 was largely concerned with writing a three-movement concerto for my friend and duo partner Miriam Teppich. We are currently exploring possible locations and ensembles for the premiere.
2023 saw the composition of a number of new pieces.
Nocturne for piano (subtitle: Blue Midnight ) was commissioned by Nancy Cooley for her February recital in aid of Freedom from Torture , a concert which also included specially-composed piano pieces by Barry Mills and John Hawkins. Later in the year I wrote another short Nocturne: High Tide, Full Moon to complete a set of Three Nocturnes, one of which - Nocturne: Valldemossa - was written a few years ago following a visit to the former monastery in which Chopin spent the winter of 1838-9. I gave the first performance of the group of three on 21st November 2023 (Holy Cross Church, Uckfield).
Voyaging Back: 7 Variations and a Folksong for solo viola was completed last April. In the same month, I transcribed Nocturne: High Tide, Full Moon for violin and piano. In May I completed a commission from the Resol Quartet for a new work for their winter tour. The Crossing Point: String Quartet no.4 was performed in 9 venues from Inverness to Cornwall. In October I began work on a Piano Trio (violin, cello and piano), which I completed in January 2024. A substantial piece in three movements, the Trio shares with Voyaging Back and The Crossing Point a renewed interest in folksong and dance (produce of more than one country. . . ).
My setting of the Requiem Mass still awaits performance. Relatively easy choral parts are accompanied by a modest ensemble of thirteen players - wind and string sextets with percussion. I have set the bulk of the Latin text, but have also included six English and American poems reflecting, in one way or another, on death, decay, and the passing of things. These poems are set for solo soprano and baritone. All that is now required is permission from the publishers of Edwin Muir and Robert Frost to set these authors' poems: I have been waiting for a clear response since 2017. The Frost Estate has now given permission, but I am still waiting for a license. The Muir Estate has not responded yet, despite repeated attempts.
Events Coming Soon
(Banner photo [detail] by Robert Broughton)
When I compose, I like to think of live musicians, singing or playing. I prefer the sometimes rough edges, the rasp, clatter and hiss of acoustic instruments, to the manufactured perfection of electronic sound. And I prefer the uncertainties of live performance to recordings which, however wonderful, remain forever the same. Read more...
Engaging with other people is also essential to my work as performer and teacher. As a pianist, I do give the occasional solo recital, but I have a definite preference for work (not just concerts) in which I partner singers or instrumentalists in one combination or another. Read more...
Julian is a composer, pianist and educator with over ten years’ experience of teaching music and creative studies at degree level at the University of Sussex and in the wider community.