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 I bought a slab of 24 staff music manuscript paper and wrote nearly 50 pages of full 24-part orchestral score of my Symphony Number 1! That is, I completed 24 parts up to page 47; but pages 48 to 50 only have one instrument part pencilled in.

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. I have never managed to find the time to get back to work and finish that Symphony but in 2018, with rapidly declining health in only my late sixties, I wish I could.

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. See below.

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 ... well that was the reason until late 2017 when I started to lose my strength for doing anything like that. Since then the problem is illness; see Health.

Chopin Nocturne Opus 9 No. 2

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)

The string trio

Here try the string trio:

This was written (1971 when I was an undergraduate of 20) as a joke send-up of mid 20th century post-classical music with its atonal and surprise effects; It is only the first page or two, never finished. Too busy for almost half a century ...

For Elizabeth Ann: A Rhapsodic Scherzo for solo piano

This was done for the first birthday of the first of her generation (my parents’ grandchild), and about her daddy, my brother Robin, buying a new piano and taking piano lessons, and about him and her mummy, Kirsty, bringing up their baby on the other side of the world; and I thought that the only thing I could do for this occasion was to write a piece of piano music to celebrate. Click here for the full memo.

To be continued ...