IPH’s compositions

A little bit about some of my own music.

At university I bought books like Professor Walter Piston’s standard textbook on Orchestration, and studied so that I knew how to write a score that was technically correct for the instruments. I now also own other standard books about composition, instrumentation, and so on by authors ranging from Rimsky-Korsakov to Norman Del Mar.

More than 45 years ago now, in 1971 while at university, I started composing. I sketched out the beginnings of a naively conceived string trio and even those of my Symphony Number 1!

Recently I came across these manuscript documents and, for fun, I scanned the first page of each of them. You can look at the trio here and the symphony here.

Slightly more recently than 1971, about 1984, I met a lady through Opera Omnibus (years before it changed its name) who sang in productions and was a music teacher, and who later was musical director for some productions. (She wrote/arranged a new orchestral score for a smaller band for one opera production.) I mentioned that I had written music, and she asked me to write a piece for wind band for the girls in such a band at her school to play. I gave her the score, and parts were made, and it was played by her girls’ wind band; but I do not have a copy...

More recently still, in the last year or two, for fun I tried writing the beginnings of a jazz version of Chopin’ Nocturne Opus 9 No.2, before I saw that there are quite a number of YouTube videos of people playing precisely that work in a jazz style, though usually with a jazz trio (add drums and string bass to the piano) or similar combo. I mapped out a couple of pages of that but never got around to finishing it.

Nowadays, of course, I do not mess with wads of manuscript paper from the music shop, and a soft pencil and a ruler for bar lines; I use composing software. And recently what I got was MuseScore. I hope to try to finish the Chopin piece, and to input the string trio, on that; and even to put in the whole symphony, if the software can cope with that. The only problem is time, especially with all the gardening to be done ...

Meanwhile, as I said, I amused myself recently by throwing together my attempt at what a lot of pianists have done (though I am not really a pianist): a jazz version of a well known Chopin piece, the Nocturne Opus 9 No. 2. I have not yet finished the first two pages of it and what I have so far ends abruptly but, if it might amuse you, have a look and a listen.
Click here to see the score and below to play and hear it.

Yes, I know: there are lots of jazz versions of this piece improvised by whoever played them in the clips on YouTube.
Here is just one: Jazz Piano Trio (and more in the index there)

To be continued ...