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One of my most recent commissions, premiered last March by Trinity Laban with Karl Lutchmayer as soloist, was broadcast on

Friday 27th October BBC3 c.3.25pm
Rachel Portman: Endangered
Edwin Roxburgh: Concerto for Piano and Winds
Clare Hammond (piano)

Sally Beamish: Diodati (UK premiere)
Gordon Crosse: Symphony No. 3 "Between Despair and Dawn" (world premiere)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Michael Seal (conductor)

Available to listen to for three weeks until 17th November on BBC 3


Welcome back to all browsers and many thanks for logging in. I just received a complaint from Hong Kong, asking for an updated Home Page, and wondering if there is any new repertoire I might recommend. Sadly, both WASBE and CBDNA conferences were largely filled with quite exacting music; more about WASBE when I get my complete recordings from Mark Morette’s Custom records, but here are the latest publications from www.Maecenasmusic.co.uk, starting with one of my latest commissions and including two works for Christmas.

Fergal Carroll Cathedral Variations for Wind Orchestra

One of my most recent commissions, this is Carroll at his most ingenious. The Tallis canon (with four variations) is explored with harmonic and rhythmic dexterity, colourful scoring and vibrant sonorities. 'Must have' materials for the High School Band at US grade 3, AB grade 4-5. Duration c: 7.30 minutes

Chris Holmes A Garland of Carols Three Symphonic Carols for Band

Past Three O'Clock - Noel nouvelet! - I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In

Three traditional carols in contemporary settings. Vibrant, spirited and strikingly dynamic. (Includes much cross cueing for bands with smaller forces.) Movements may be performed separately. AB grade 6/7, US grade 4/5.10'35

Malcolm Binney Christmas Extravaganza A New Christmas Festival for Wind Orchestra

A brilliantly conceived Christmas overture or finale designed as an alternative or companion to Anderson's enduring favourite. A wealth of familiar melodies with many sparkling suprises, often brilliant, often poignant - a real Christmas

Adam Gorb Boat Trip for Wind Orchestra

Boat Trip explores the more lyrical and tranquil sounds of the Wind Orchestra and is pitched somewhere between a barcarolle and a Satie Gymnepdie. However, its not all sweetness and light, the boat has to ride some rough waters before it finally vanishes into the sunset. Duration: 7.30 minutes


(Includes much cross cueing for bands with smaller forces.) AB grade 6/7, US grade 4/5. Duration 9'40

Daniel Basford Four Rossetti Songs for Voice (Baritone or Mezzo Soprano) and Wind Ensemble

The Four Rossetti Songs were conceived as a sequel to Basford's large-scale cantata Night Journey. However, unlike Night Journey each of the four songs can be performed separately. Whilst owing much to the gentle song-writing skills of English composers Vaughan Williams and Ivor Gurney, these very individual pieces integrate perfectly the timbre and colours of the wind ensemble into the vocal line so exquisitely expressed in these beautiful verses by Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti. A perfect addition to the voice with wind instruments repertoire. Duration (complete): 14 minutes

Fergal Carroll Spring at Nine Stones for Symphonic Wind Orchestra

February March April

Spring at Nine Stones is a sequel to Fergal Carroll's popular suite 'Winter Dances' and is in three linked movements wholly based on original tunes almost all with Carroll's finger print strong Irish character. The commissioning group are twinned with the FCJ Secondary School in Bunclody in County Wexford, Ireland, whom they visit every few years. Bunclody is close to a beauty spot on the slopes of Mount Leinster called 'The Nine Stones', a favourite of the visiting bands conductor. It was on one of these visits that Spring at Nine Stones received it's first performance. "......characteristic Carroll, full of good tunes, the perfect High School Band piece at US grade 3.5, AB grade 4/5." Duration c: 10 minutes

Adam Gorb Spring Into Action for Wind Orchestra

Adam Gorb's three movement work Spring Into Action celebrates the arrival of spring with all the associated magic and rejuvenation this special time of year brings. The first movement applauds the fresh, vibrant stirrings of the season. The second is more reflective with extended solos and sensitive muted brass chorales. "The finale is where the real action begins." A Latin American inspired variation of the opening movement, it spins us into a whirlwind of infectious rhythms and harmonies, the whole culminating in a riotous life affirming coda. Duration c:13’

Daniel Basford Symphony No.1 'Prometheus' for Wind Orchestra

Basford's 'Prometheus' Symphony owes much to English symphonists such as Walton, Elgar and Bax. Whilst not actually telling the Prometheus story it takes its main inspiration from two poems: Byron's Prometheus and Shelley's epic drama Prometheus Unbound. It is cast in four contrasting movements which between them straddle all the emotions. "....a wonderful and colourful piece...." "....a truly outstanding and mature work." : 39 minutes

It was very good to end an exciting summer with two days at the Norges Musikkorps Forbund conducting school in Stavanger, 140 students with a stellar faculty from Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. I was reminded of so many great things about music in Norway, not least this opera about a meeting between Grainger and Grieg for singers and wind ensemble by Norman Dello Joio’s son, Justin. Also incredible to meet Stig Nordhagen, one of the leading composers for wind and brass band, whose Euphonium Concerto we programmed at WASBE in 2003 in Sweden, and whose SymphonyNo 1 was played by the fine Norwegian Wind Orchestra in Taiwan in 2011. I wrote:

I have long had a fantasy that in most countries there are composers writing really good major works for wind band which are non-commercial and which are largely unknown to the conductors, bands, audiences and publishers; in Netherlands perhaps Bernard van Beurden, in China Chen Qian, in Sweden Csaba Deak, in Germany Richard Heller and Frank Zabel, while in Norway, my fantasy is filled by by Stig Nordhagen, a clarinettist with the orchestra in Kristiansand, whose Euphonium Concerto I really enjoyed in 2003 in Sweden. His Symphony No. 1 for Wind Band, Solitude Standing is certainly another major addition to the repertoire, one of the outstanding works of the Conference.



22nd October saw the ever youthful Martin reaching sixty. Time to programme one of his works for the next season!



Earlier in the summer I had the good fortune to spend ten days in Tokyo, working with the magnificent Senzuko Gakuen and their conductor, Yasuhide Ito, a wonderful orchestral trainer, conductor and composer. He is best known for Gloriosa, but recently he has written some extremely significant works of great power and beauty. Two works in particular which I really want to programme are:

That which he taught us a scena for baritone and soprano and wind ensemble.

As Time is passing on with brief passage with choir

Sir John Manduell - 2nd March 1928 – 25th October, 2017

Lord Berkeley, the composer Michael, writes in his hugely amusing Foreword to John’s autobiography, No Bartok Before breakfast, of “the pivotal cog in British music of the twentieth-century, The Manduell, a vital component which consists of a myriad parts – composer, BBC Producer, Festival Director, Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music…and cricketer – these all go to make up The Manduell.” He could have added John’s sterling service on the Board of the Royal Opera House, at the Arts Council, the British Council, the founding of el Sistema, European music year, juries world-wide – his book paints a vivid picture of his work with all of these august bodies and many more, but also of the dozens of musicians, artists and colleagues whose lives were touched by contact with his genius. Another quote from the end-page of the book will help to sum him up:
“It is hard to believe that one man could have had so much influence on the musical life not only of the United Kingdom, but of Europe and beyond. Yet the pages of this delightful memoir reveal the extent to which John Manduell's extraordinary vision, his willingness to venture into unknown territory, his ability to think the unthinkable, his wisdom and his persuasiveness have helped to raise the profile of music in so many areas"