Bon Voyage

This begins with a simple folk melody (I’ve no idea if I wrote it or heard something similar somewhere before) It then winds its way through different moods, key changes and developments before arriving back at the simple opening melody.

I have always been fascinated by travel, forms of transportation, the idea of a quest etc. I send myself to sleep at night imagining myself on ‘Hobbit’ style journeys through woods, mountains, ocean voyages and all kinds of wild adventures. (Maybe I should get out more). Anyway I often wake up in the morning with my tunes in my head and rush to the piano to try and make sense of it all.

Very irritating for my wife though…

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The Things I Loved

The_Things_I_Loved-mp3-imageThis sweet and dreamy little tune celebrates the joys and simple pleasures of life. It is very French and a trifle melancholic.

The piece has spoonfuls of nostalgia running throughout and all the usual dynamic and tempo variations that quirky sentimental (and theatrical) music needs.

Many of my piano solos are really songs that I develop into romantic piano works using modulations and improvisational devices. I do not, however always publish the words – either because I don’t rate them very highly or I prefer the listener to visualise their own storyline or imagery – which is often the whole point of instrumental music.

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Rhapsody for Utøya

A retro (alla Warsaw Concerto) tribute to 77 wasted lives. I watched a T.V. report showing how this murderer is being given 5 star treatment and ‘human rights’ in the ‘prison’ prior to his trial. I wrote this music the same day (14th April 2012) There is no real anger in the music, ( I don’t really do musical anger) but there is passion, sadness and frustration… but then there is also a sense of joy in the hope of eternal justice and resurrection. The music does not in any way reflect the diabolical scenes on that day, I was just mindful of the total despair of all of the people affected. I plagiarised the small coda from Sindings ‘Rustle of Spring’ a piece I loved when learning piano (about 14).

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SeascapeAnother of my very French sounding melodies. I read an tragic story of a pretty young girl called Angelique who was brutally murdered for no apparent reason. I sometimes try not to detach myself from other people’s misfortune and imagine we are all family.

Pity I can’t swap tunes for peoples lives.

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Remission_melstallwood-mp3-imageThis sweet and dreamy little tune celebrates the joys and simple pleasures of life. It is very French and a trifle melancholic.

I have sadly lost many friends and family over the years and several well before their time. Rheumatoid Arthritis has severely restricted my piano playing ability in the last year or so but occasionally I get a day or two’s remission. This (unusual for me) joyful and optimistic piece was composed during one of those days. It also reminds me of old friends whose chances of remission are now gone…

We all need to try and make our short time on Earth as meaningful as we can. If we knew we were to die tomorrow how would we behave? How would we want to be remembered? These things would reveal our heart. Maybe we would not need to behave any differently, but in my experience most people only really grow up when they become aware of their mortality ( even young children).

After the final two (arpeggiated) chords there is a sense to the listener that the piece is unfinished. I wrote a question mark on the sheet music (where the final chord should be) in some form of explanation…

I really should write something called Resurrection…


Two Left Feet

Seargent-300x222The 2nd audio above is the arrangement for brass quintet.

I have no idea how (or why) I wrote this piece. It happened quite quickly and flowed from my fingers more than my head (or heart). I had an image of a man from Barcelona marching hysterically on a parade ground (1st section) and then the piece morphed into another man having an equally hilarious dance lesson on Strictly Come Dancing (2nd section) (John Seargent?) The main problem I have is packaging this number – is it a March?, Is it a Waltz?, Is it Novelty Piano? Is it Classical? It even has some Ragtime suggestions. This could be my publishers nightmare… I know? It’s Super-marltz

Anyway The thing is now born and off it went. (deliberate mixing of tenses)

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Crazy Thirds

This piece was written without much thought other than an exercise in ‘thirds’ (intervals). As a child learning piano I disliked playing scales in thirds and only became passably proficient when I needed to in later exams. Anyway they crop up fairly rarely in Classical music apart from Czerny and Hanon exercises and studies, but rapid parallel thirds sound quite pleasant to me and work well in novelty ragtime.

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Scuttlebutt Wag

I had no reason to write this piece other than I hadn’t written anything since we moved to Staindrop from Middle Farm (about 2 months) I thought I needed to try and write something and this is what came out. I called it ‘Gossiping for England’ due to the generally frenzied ambience of the thing but later settled on ‘Scuttlebutt Wag’ because I really like the image it seems to conjure (to me anyway).

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Turning in the Gravy

Turning-in-GravyThe title suggests that purists in various fields of piano music will be horrified that I have mixed up several kinds of musical genre’s and made a lovely thick gravy from the chosen ingredients. I have always unashamably loved all kinds of jazz styles, from rag to bebop, and then to throw in my beloved Mozart and Beethoven to me is like ‘cheesecake’ it really shouldn’t work, but it does. Even though most jazz and classical purists will probably ‘turn in their graves’.

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I had no intention of composing a piece with this title but I am trying to combine various styles and genre with ragtime and although their is no actual musical references taken from the works of Rachmaninoff included, the middle section cameo seems to allude to that general period for me. Anyway I couldn’t think of anything better to call the thing. I don’t take my music so seriously that they would demand particularly grandiose titles. This is essentially a ragtime piece with a small slice of classical in the middle. I liken it to a mint imperial middle, coated with dark chocolate!

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