David Matthews, who enjoys an international reputation for his own string quartets, wrote as follows after the premiere of Julian Broughton's String Quartet No.2: Earth and Angels: "I enjoyed the concert and thought your piece was outstanding. It exemplifies your best qualities as a composer, with its singing melodic lines, fine counterpoint and exhilarating rhythms (most people now just don't write real dancing rhythms, as you realize when you hear them). The slow movement is most beautiful [. . .]" (May 2011).
I have worked in most genres. Recent compositions/ performances include Requiem (2020) for soprano and baritone soloists with chorus and thirteen instrumentalists, String Quartet no.3 (2017), Aria for violin and strings (2016), which became (in 2018) a Concerto for violin, timpani and strings with the addition of two new movements, Rain at Midnight, a song cycle for baritone and piano (2015), Sonata for Violin and Piano (2014), whose final movement was encored at the third performance in February 2017, and Symphony in E [Listen/View], commissioned by Horsham Symphony Orchestra with financial assistance from the PRS for Music Foundation and the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust (2011).
The Long Negation [Listen/View], a setting of a specially-written poem by Peter Abbs, is one of a number of pieces in which contemporary poetry is approached in innovative ways. Here, the text is presented by two performers – one speaks, the other sings, and both are accompanied by a small instrumental ensemble. My own ensemble, ‘Pedlar’s Dream’, gave the premiere in 2011.
However, the same year also saw the composition of Rain at Midnight, for the more familiar combination of baritone and piano. This cycle, which sets six new poems by Paul Matthews, is sung throughout. Working with words is endlessly fascinating, and has always been an aspect of my work as a composer.
A practising poet, I occasionally set my own poems to music. However, I usually prefer the challenge and excitement of responding to other people’s work.
If you’d like to become involved in a new music project, for example by commissioning a work, please email me at email@example.com
For full list, see Complete worklist
Choral (most recent first)
Under Your Feet (words: Peter Abbs, Robyn Bolam, Dana Gioia, John Haines, Kathleen Raine). Soprano and baritone soli, SATB chorus with occasional divisions (includes optional trebles), orchestra.
Two Carols. First performed Dec.6, 1998, Oxford Pro Musica, dir. Michael Smedley, Holland Park Orangery, London
Berceuse (words: Christopher Wood). SATB, harp (or piano).
In Hac Nocte (words: Christopher Wood). SATB, harp (or piano).
The Flowering of Flint (words: Peter Abbs). SATB chorus, orchestra. Commissioned by East Sussex County Council. First performed 1997: Sinfonia 21 with Heathfield Choral Society, dir. David Hill (De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea).
A Prayer for Rain (words: Steven Deproost). Chorus, alto solo, clarinet, string quartet, piano (four hands). Commissioned by Sussex Philharmonic Chorus. First performed 1990: Sussex Philharmonic Chorus and Ensemble dir. Jonathan Cross (St.Peter's Church, Brighton).
Bethlehem (words: George Mackay Brown). Chorus, tenor and bass soloists, organ and brass. First performed 1990: Sussex Philharmonic Chorus, Lewes.
The Tree of Knowledge (words: Peter Abbs). Chamber choir, solo clarinet. First performed 1989: Sussex Chamber Choir, dir. Jonathan Grieves Smith, with Nick Hayes, clarinet (St.Anne's Church, Lewes).
Unaccompanied choral (most recent first)
Sentences (words: Psalm 119; e.e.cummings; William Blake). SATB
The Faerie Beam (words: Ben Jonson). SATB St.Colme and his Cat (words: Scott; Herrick; anon). SATB [Listen/View]
Weathers (words: Hardy; Larkin; Graves). SATB Despite and Still (words: Graves). SATTB [/tab] [tab name='Orchestral']
Orchestral (most recent first)
Symphony in E. Symphony orchestra. [Listen/View] Commissioned by Horsham Symphony Orchestra with financial assistance from the PRS for Music Foundation and the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust. First performed 2011: Horsham Symphony Orchestra, cond. Steve Dummer (the Capitol Theatre, Horsham).
Points of Departure. Concerto for string orchestra. Commissioned by The Musicians of All Saints with funds from South-East Arts. First performed 1999: The Musicians of All Saints, dir. Andrew Sherwood (St.Nicholas's Church, Brighton).
Intermezzo. Small symphony orchestra. Commissioned by University College London (UCL) Music Society. First performed 1990: UCL Orchestra, dir. Jonathan Grieves Smith (St.James's Piccadilly, London).
Vocal (most recent first)
Shadow Play: two poems of Abi Curtis. Baritone and piano. Premiere due 7th April 2012: Jeremy Huw Williams (baritone) and Nigel Foster (piano), Unitarian Chapel, York. http://www.latemusic.org/april-concert.html
Rain at Midnight (words: Paul Matthews). Song cycle. Baritone and piano.
The Long Negation (words: Peter Abbs, after Geibel) for speaker, mezzo soprano, clarinet, viola and piano. [Listen/View] First performed March 2011, members of Pedlar’s Dream (the Meeting House, University of Sussex).
Gallop Apace! (Shakespeare). Soprano and piano. First performed May 2010. Dorothea Leber, soprano, Julian Broughton, piano (Michael Hall School, Forest Row).
Heading Down Three poems by Abi Curtis for voice (spoken) and viola. First performed April 2009. Abi Curtis, reader, with Julian Broughton, viola (Essex House, University of Sussex).
Audenary Songs (three settings of Auden) Song cycle. Tenor and piano
A Fountain by a Wood. Song cycle (five settings of La Fontaine, transl. Christopher Wood). Soprano, piano. Commissioned with funds from Kensington and Chelsea Arts Council. First performed (except fifth song) 1997: Sally Bradshaw, soprano, Julian Broughton, piano (Institut Francais, London). First performance of final song,
The Oak and the Reed, arranged by the composer for soprano, oboe, clarinet, viola and harp: 2002. Sally Bradshaw, soprano, members of Okeanos (Lincoln Cathedral).
Spring and Fall (words: Hopkins). Baritone and piano.
Chamber (most recent first)
Sonata for Violin and Piano First performance 2015: Ellie Blackshaw (violin) and Rachel Fryer (piano). St. Luke's, Brighton.
String Quartet no.2: Earth and Angels. First complete performance 2011: Regency Ensemble (A New Music Brighton concert, Friends’ Meeting House, Brighton).
Natural Light: sextet for wind (fl., ob., cl., bass cl., hn., bsn.). First performed May 2009, London Myriad (Benslow Music Trust, Hitchin).
not so fast (String Quartet no.3) First performed June 2009, members of Musicians of All Saints (Hamsey Old Church, Lewes)
String Quartet no.1. Commissioned with funds from Yorkshire and Humberside Arts. First performed 1999: Kreutzer String Quartet (De Gray Rooms, York). First performance of revised version, 2001: Bingham String Quartet (St.Mary de Haura Church, Shoreham-by-Sea).
Sonata for trombone and piano. First performed Brighton, 1997. Tim Wade, trombone, Julian Broughton, piano.
The Field of Stars. Flute, cello, piano. First performed 1995: Helen Lee, flute, Peter Copley, cello, Julian Broughton, piano (Chapel Royal, Brighton).
Trio. Clarinet, violin, piano. First performed 1991, York.
Piano (most recent first)
Barcarolle No.2. First performed 10/07/2014. Julian Broughton, piano. (All Saints United Reformed Church, Burgess Hill).
Sonata Across Four Elements. First performed 27/04/06: Julian Broughton, piano (The Meeting House, University of Sussex)
Island Inventions. [Listen/View] Commissioned by Julian Davies. First performed 12/01/06: Julian Broughton, piano (The Meeting House, University of Sussex)
Studies in Wood and Stone. No.1, first performed 2001: Stephanie Cant, piano (Chapel Royal, Brighton). No.2, first performed 1998: Julian Broughton, piano (St.Nicholas's Church, Brighton). First complete performance: 12/01/06 Julian Broughton, piano (The Meeting House, University of Sussex)
Barcarolle. Commissioned by Brian Measday. First performed 1995: Julian Broughton, piano (St.Michael's Church, Lewes).
Sonata in Two Movements. Commissioned by Linda Hammond. First performed 1994: Julian Broughton, piano (St.Michael's Church, Lewes).