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PIANO

Download / View / Hear Score



Clouds and Life - (2017)

Reflections at Midnight - (2017) 

Falling Leaves at Loch Oich - (2016)

Moonlight, Starlight - (2016)

Tristezza del Chiaro di luna (Sadness of the Moonlight) - (2016)

Winter Clouds at Crowfield - (2016)

The Enchanted Chandelier - (2015)

When Summer Ends - (2015)

Je vois l'océan - (2015)

Elegy - (2015)

The Winter Portal - (2015)

December Light at Iken - (2014)

L'espoir d'été - (2014)

Walking Towards The Rainbow (revised version) - (2014)

Incantation
- (2003)

Prelude
- (2000)



click above to view FULL
score.

This prelude for piano is composed around three related pitch collections, although the piece mainly explores different aspects of piano writing, using just one of these. Bars 1-4 present the simple form of the note collection
( 0, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10 ) – the nexus set - as a melodic phrase. The opening tempo is slow with a prevailing feeling of calm, which contrasts with a feeling of nervous energy in the faster sections. The opening melodic phrase is repeated throughout the piece, decorated sometimes by acciaccaturas, trills, or flowing semiquavers. In bars 23-26 the melodic phrase also appears in retrograde in the left hand, decorated by triplets.

In bars 184,193, 203 one finds the appearance of a second p.c. ( 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 11 ) the complement of the original. These broken chords are placed here to add an extra richness to the harmony. The use of the sustaining pedal blends together the two note collections. The new chords overlay a variation of the trill decorated ‘main theme’.

The third p.c. ( 0, 2, 5, 7, 8, 11 ) is a transposition, a major second higher, of the original. This appears at bar 303, completing a 4 bar phrase, while echoing the triplet variation of the section before. The six notes of this collection move the melodic line away from the harmonic centre for a brief instant, this sets up tension, which is released in the forte chord punctuations of the next two bars. These chords also signal the approaching end of the piece. Just before the più mosso/pianissimo ending, the music briefly looks back to the calm mood of the opening bars.


click above to download MP3 2' 09
Piano - Ian Harris
recorded on 13 December 2000 at Colchester Institute.



Spin Light Voyage - (1997)
A one movement work of approximately 7 minutes.


Proximities - (1991)
Composed for Andrew Behrend. 
Nos 3 & 5 released by
DISCUS-MUSIC  in 1993 -
on the album: 
Network - Volume one: 55 music miniatures



REVIEWS of the album:
"Utterly absorbing" - Richard Cook, Wire.
"The start of an important project" - Chris Blackford, Rubberneck.
"An unstoppable onslaught of the imagination" -
Future Music.

1. Adagio
2. Moderato
3. Allegro
4. Andante
5. Allegro
6. Andante


The Traveller's Mythology - (1991)
Music for an imaginary film.
1. When Nature perceives the Traveller
2. Between Life and the Mind
3. Summer Thunder Speaks
4. The Traveller


Crowfield - (1989)
Inspired by the landscape surrounding Crowfield Church.



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Clarinet


Tristezza del chiaro di luna - (2017)
for clarinet & piano

Je vois l'océan - (2017)
for clarinet & piano

Moonlight, Starlight - (2017)
for clarinet & piano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Classical Guitar   

The Song Of The Trees - (2013)
for classical guitar, 3 violins & electronics

Journey to the Horizon - (2013)
for classical guitar

La Serenissima - (2012)
for classical guitar

El Verano Espanol
- (2010)
for classical guitar


click on above image to download
MP3 excerpt
The guitar on this  2010 recording is  played by Ian Harris.



Soleil d'avril
- (2010)
for classical guitar
or classical guitar & flute


Jardin de los suenos perdidos
- (2009)
for classical guitar
'Garden of Lost Dreams' was written for Sebastian Chew and was inspired by a visit to the gardens of the Alhambra in Granada.


click on above image to download MP3  excerpt 
The guitar on this  2009 recording is  played by Ian Harris.



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Violin / Cello / String Quartet

 

Journey to the Horizon - (2014)
for violin & piano



Dance
- (2000)
for cello & piano.
This music combines ideas derived from two pieces: the medieval composer Guillaume de Machaut’s ‘Douce dame jolie’ and Kevin Volans’ String Quartet No.1 ‘White Man Sleeps’ . I have ‘borrowed’ three melodic cells from the Machaut song, and one rhythmic cell. These cells are then developed through repetition, and placement in new context. In bars 1 - 3 of my Dance repeated melodic phrases are established, based on melodic cell 1. Then at Bar 38, the cello enters with a six note figure, forming the beginning of a structural unit, used rhythmically in Volans’ string quartet, which I have developed to include melodic cell 2. (Volans’ structural unit comprises: cell a, cell b, axis note, repeat cell b, mirror cell a.) Therefore after the six note cello figure, the piano right hand plays the notes b,d,d,c,b, from cell 2, the missing note of cell 2 the a, becomes the axis note. The melodic cell is repeated (except for the note a ), followed by the six note cello figure in retrograde. One example of my use of the rhythmic cell 4 (from Machaut), occurs in bars 5 – 8. Starting at bar 7, followed by bars 8,5,6. By overlaying a six note melodic cell with a five beat rhythmic cell the same notes are given the rhythmic variation of detail evident in the Volans model. The possible drone on the notes d and a in the Machaut score, become short punctuation marks for the cello underneath the piano part in bars 11 – 13, 25 – 26, and punctuation marks for the piano above the cello part in bar 32. This piece maintains the use of the pentatonic scale c,d,e,g,a, (as does Volans in the first movement of his quartet), with the additional note b used only melodically, as in
White Man Sleeps.


Abflug - (2000)
for string quartet.
Departure - a short, lyrical serial composition for string quartet.In the opening we hear the prime series followed by three set versions, one after the other. Each one is introduced by a different instrument. At the this point the music reveals itself through long melodic phrases, the notes of each set version can be followed horizontally across the score. The lyrical mood which is created at the beginning is never far away throughout the whole piece. The music goes on to present four more versions of the original series during the central contrasting part of the piece. The use of the notes vertically creates the harmony here. The music at the centre is defined by rhythms in different groupings of semiquavers, at faster tempos with pizzicato strings.

The bridge between the centre and the remainder of the music is signalled by the violin harmonic at 411. This moment is also reinforced by the repetition of the A maj.7th chord from the bar before. The use of this chord is the most explicit use of tonality, although other set versions contain further tonal implications. The high violin harmonics from bar 424 through the return to the original tempo have a cold ethereal quality, but this coldness is suddenly transformed to warmth in the last section from bar 472. One sustained and repeated chord derived from P4 (transposition of original series, up maj.3rd), underpins the closing bars, supporting the appearance above of the prime series in retrograde form. The first lyrical thoughts of the music are thus reflected in the last.



Ivan - (1998)
for cello & piano.
Inspired by the novel: 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich' by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.


The Realm of Falling - (1996)
for string quartet.
The title for this piece comes from the idea of suspending, prolonging and examining fragments of time (the realm) during which the mind is in the process of passing into new conditions, for instance: into error, into anxiety, into calm.


Circles of Inner Blue - (1995)
for cello & piano,
Composed for Harriet Bennett.
"Blue of the mind, my island, this engine of interior time, spiralling"


Meta-Flight - (1992)
work for clarinet, violin, cello & piano.
(see performances for details)


Time of the Deep Night - (1990)
for violin & piano.
Composed for Michael Peck.


Games of Apollo - (1988)
for violin & piano.

 

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Flute

Soleil d'avril - (2010)
flute & classical guitar


Dahl's Room - (2008)
for solo flute
Dahl's room is a short intriguing work for solo flute. The character of the music is melodic and intense. The title refers to Dr Dahl, a Moscow hypnotherapist, whom Rachmaninov visited for help prior to writing his 2nd Piano Concerto.



Summer Thunder Speaks
- (2001)
for flute and piano
performances
Summer Thunder Speaks is a short but very energetic work for flute and piano. The music is bright and bursts out of nowhere like the sudden appearance of a thunderstorm on a summer’s day. One moment the storm is upon us, and the next it has disappeared completely.




click above to view FULL SCORE

 

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VOCAL  



The Raven - (2015)
for soprano or counter-tenor and piano
words by Ian Harris
 

Over Ice Land
- (2014)
for counter-tenor and piano
words by Ian Harris
 

Child Of Wisdom
- (2012)
for choir (SATB)

click above to view FULL SCORE

The Wisdom Of Winter
- (2012)
for choir (SATB)
words by Ian Harris

Of The Loss Of Time
- (2011)
for counter-tenor, violin, flute, string ensemble

words: John Hoskins (1566-1638)

"If life be time that here is lent,
And time on earth be cast away,
Whoso his time hath here misspent,
Hath hastened his own dying day"


 

When This Day Is Over
- (2007)
for voice, piano, flute, strings, tuned percussion
duration: 3' 41
words by Ian Harris
"Winter sky is sparkling clear, the story forever with me...."

The Wind
- (2005)

for voice & strings
duration: 4' 10
words by Ian Harris
"When will the wind know my name?..."


The Snow Was Falling
- (2005)
for voice, strings, flutes, harp, classical guitar, tuned and untuned percussion
duration: 2' 28
words by Ian Harris
"The snow was falling, like stories unending..."


Carnival
- (2005)
for voice & piano
duration: 1' 15
words by Ian Harris
"...I am free, to be who I want to be."


Beyond The Sun
- (2004)
for voice & piano
duration 2' 30
words by Ian Harris
"...this land of light, so full of hope."




click above to view FULL SCORE


Night Song
- (2004)
for soprano or tenor, violin & strings. 
strings (6.6.4.4.2.)

duration c. 3' 30
words by Ian Harris
"....silence fills up my mind, this hidden magic night."

Shadows of Conflict
- (1991)
for soprano or tenor and piano.
words by Ian Harris

Secret Words
- (1991)
for soprano, violin, cello & piano.
words by Ian Harris
"Meta-Sea-Arcanum-Saphires-Hearer-Ever"

Cantata
- (1988)
for soprano, flute & piano.
Composed for Sharon Jones.
Libretto: Ian Harris
.

Across this Land
- (1987)
for soprano and piano.
words by Ian Harris


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ORCHESTRA



Cloud Garden - (2002/2003)
for Vibraphone & Strings
3 Octave Concert Vibraphone
Strings (8.6.6.4.2.)
Duration: c.15 minutes

  • Society for the Promotion of New Music shortlisted work 2003-2006

  • now included in The Collection Library at Sound and Music.org, - Cloud Garden 
    (previously known as the British Music Information Centre collection)

"We turned and looked at the sky above the garden. There could be no more doubt. The cavalry of the great army of cloud was rounding up the last stray bits of blue. Thunder rang out again and again loud and long and the lonely hills at the end of the plain went white with the advance mist of the storm. Then we saw the rain itself come up fast, rushing with a sound like that of the great wind of the first spirit of life once more taking up its quest on the parched and long rejected earth upon which we stood."



Cloud Garden is intended to be a very free suggestion of the above extract from the novel ‘The Seed and The Sower’ by Laurens van der Post. This section of the novel is concerned with the meeting of two brothers in South Africa. The meeting is emotional and nourishes the state of reconciliation (of the long rejected earth). The primary intention was to write a piece in a single movement. This one movement would contain interrelated and repeating sections of varying length and tempi. These sections would contribute to the effect of being within a changeable emotional landscape. Symbols and states in different configurations appear and re-appear, rather than continually develop throughout. The reappearance of similar material suggests how similar memories resurface within the garden. The garden is a place of fragile beauty within a wilderness. The interior world (emotion) is at odds with the exterior world (nature).



 

.


The Winter Portal
-
(2008)
for classical guitar, percussion & string orchestra - c. 14 minutes duration

I. Largo - Andante
II. Adagietto
III. Scherzando
IV. Andante

A work in four movements, inter-connected by re-emerging melodic phrases. The guitar remains the centre of focus throughout the work, alternating between serenity and a positive rhythmic dynamism. The title of the piece refers to an imagined secret doorway into a timeless winter landscape.


click on above image to download MP3 extract from the first movement - 1' 59
 

 


The Invisible Magician - (2003)
for orchestra

Background
"Each year the Ipswich Orchestral Society presents a family concert. The programme consists of a number of short pieces from the orchestral repertoire that introduces children to classical music and the instruments of the orchestra. Included in the programme this year was my piece ‘The Invisible Magician’ a short audience participation piece commissioned specially for IOS. This year’s concert took place on Sunday 9 March at the Ipswich Corn Exchange. The concert was sold out (seating capacity 750). The conductor was Adam Gatehouse, Executive Producer, Live Music at BBC Radio 3. For my piece Mr Gatehouse conducted the audience, and the orchestra was conducted by Neil Mathews. The orchestra was in costume, appropriate to this year’s theme ‘magic’.

For my piece, special lighting effects were employed, to enhance the magical atmosphere. The lighting was controlled by David Ferguson, and devised in consultation with me during the dress rehearsal in the morning of the concert.The full programme was as follows:

Raider’s March – John Williams
Ritual Fire Dance – De Falla
The Nutcracker Suite (excerpts) – Tchaikovsky 
Danse Macabre – Saint-Saëns
The Firebird Suite (excerpts) – Stravinsky
‘Mars’ from The Planets Suite – Holst

- interval –

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Dukas
The Invisible Magician – Ian Harris
Czardas – Monti
E.T. Medley – John Williams


Brief
To compose an audience participation piece to the following brief.

1 The piece should be no more than 3 minutes long.
2 Linked to the concert theme:
'magic'
3 Involve as much of the orchestra as possible.
4 Readily accessible to children thematically and harmonically.
5 Involve special effects that the children can take part in, for example clapping or specific percussion effects (for a small selected group from the audience).
6 Suggested story line involves casting a spell with a progression to a climax, culminating in stage effect (blue smoke, bangs etc).

Pre-Performance Audience Explanation
The following story should be read out to the audience by the conductor before the piece begins, as an explanation for their participation in the ‘magic’.

"As you arrived at the concert hall an invisible magician has turned your keys into magic keys. Every time you shake your keys you are sprinkling magic dust in the air. We need to fill the hall with magic dust in order to make the magician appear at the end of the music !!"

Description
Pizzicato strings (2nd violins and violas) create the mysterious slow opening.The audience are divided into different groups, (up to four) adding to the magical opening by jangling keys between phrases in the music. Clarinet and flute share the melodic line that gradually increases in tempo leading into the more sprightly Giocoso section. Here the remainder of the instruments enter, first the harp followed by the brass each playing short melodic phrases, creating a richer sound texture although keeping the melody in the foreground. When the music again reaches a slow section, percussion alternates with the audience over a quietly sustained low C natural in the cellos and double basses. Harmonics in the other string parts at bar 25 act as a bridge to a longer audience participation section. The audience has been instructed before the piece began that if they have any keys with them (e.g. car/house keys) then they will be directed by the conductor at certain points in the piece to begin jangling them quietly at first but becoming louder and louder. The conductor will stop the sound at its loudest. A cymbal crash marks the return to a lively tempo (the spell is working). At bar 34 the cellos play the four note motive from bar 1 (2nd violins - pizz) with lengthened note values against a pulsating rhythm derived from the clarinet solo in bar 6. The theme is played three times, each time another instrument adds to the texture. A huge brass chord marks the end of this section and leads to a short vivace section ending on a forte A major chord for the whole orchestra concluding the piece. On this last chord special effects (i.e.coloured smoke) should be used for a visual representation of the Invisible Magician finally appearing.

Rehearsals
I was able to attend three rehearsals, including the dress rehearsal. Certain amendments to the score became apparent during the first two, and I was able to make necessary changes to dynamics for instance, in time for the last rehearsal. 

Post Concert
I am very grateful to receive positive feedback from everyone associated with the project and members of the audience. The general view is that the music and the audience ‘knitted together’ to create a proper relationship and dialogue that was entirely enjoyable. From my own perspective, I have gained a valuable experience in writing for the orchestra to a tight brief."


Tonio Kröger - (2001)
for mandolin, violin, trumpet & strings.


click on above image to download MP3

Title sequence music for an imaginary film version of Thomas Mann's novella 'Tonio Kröger'

The title sequence music is scored for mandolin, violin, trumpet and strings. At the opening the mandolin plays a tentative melodic line that gradually builds in tempo and dynamic. The mandolin is recorded with a stereo pan and delay effect. This creates the impression of many instruments playing simultaneously. This music directly corresponds to the hail storm described at the beginning of the story. The strings enter at a lower dynamic to the mandolin. Gradually the strings become louder until they are equally balanced with the mandolin part. Just at the moment when the solo violin enters, the mandolin begins to fade away. Tension is created by the simultaneous hearing of these two musical elements. This musical tension corresponds directly to the themes that are at the heart of the story: the ambiguity of beauty and the tension between art and life. The free energy-driven music for mandolin represents Tonio's free passionate spirit, a lifestyle based on the senses, and the world from which his mother comes. The calm more 'intellectual' sounding string music represents the other side of Tonio's character. The intellectual writer who observes life at a distance. The use of solo instruments in combination with the string orchestra reflects the atmosphere of the Copland model: 'Quiet City'. A work for trumpet, cor anglais and strings. Copland wrote that he sought to convey 'the nostalgic and inner distress of a society profoundly aware of its own insecurity', and also 'the slogging gait of a dispossessed man.' In my music, the violin and trumpet solos each represent different aspects of Tonio himself. The violin solo represents Tonio's childhood, while the trumpet solo is the adult Tonio. (He played the violin as a child). The trumpet conveys a more world-weary quality. The positioning of the two solo instruments, violin-left and trumpet-right also emphasises the movement in time and space from one segment of Tonio's life to another. In order to capture the 'tensions between art and life' and the 'ambiguity of beauty' the music for strings conveys a quietly unsettling atmosphere from the outset. The chords played by the strings also correspond to the merging of the disparate worlds from which his parents come, and the contradictory way in which they bring up Tonio. A reference point for my title sequence music, is David Lean's 1965 film 'Dr.Zhivago'. Although in a different style, Maurice Jarre's music uses the balalaika within the title sequence to represent certain aspects of the film that will reoccur later on. The sound of the beautifully decorated balalaika that belonged to Zhivago's mother conveys memories, emotion and an indefinable longing for an 'other'. In Tonio Kröger, the mandolin carries memories for Tonio, and the reoccurrence of the mandolin music at points in the film would give an extra emotional depth.




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© 2002 Ian Harris