Back Catalogue

Contains details of the following works:

The Legend of King David and the Stag (2017)
This is My Beloved (2016)
Dappled Things (2015)
The Beckoning Waters (2014)
Songs from Luke (2013)
Moment of Eternity (2012)
Patrick's Song (2010)
 

The Legend of King David and the stag (2017)

In brief:
A light-hearted mini-musical comprising ten songs, exploring the story and characters behind the founding of Holyrood Abbey.

Libretto:
My husband, Benjamin Haynes, wrote a first draft for the libretto, and after that we worked on it together. As is evident from the title we eventually chose, much of the work concerns King David and his experience with the stag (see below). However, we also decided to go back, before King David's time, to his parents. I wanted to have a strong female character, and we found that in David's mother, Queen Margaret.

The story in a nutshell, is that whilst out hunting in the forest with his friends, King David was separated from the rest of his party. He fell from his horse and was charged by a stag. As he raised his hands to defend himself from the beast's antlers he had some kind of mystical experience. Accounts vary as to the exact nature of this - but he either 'saw' or 'felt' (or both) the cross of Christ. Amazingly, King David was able to return home completely unscathed. In order to mark the occasion of this profound experience and to celebrate what he considered to be his miraculous escape, King David founded Holyrood Abbey.

Whilst we have tried to treat David's mystical experience reverently and respectfully, at other points the libretto is gently comical. 

Composer's note:
I originally had an inkling of an idea for this project several years back, when I first heard the legend recounted whilst taking part in a historical concert on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh. However, I didn't set pen to paper until late on in 2016 when, having been working for an extended period on 'This is My Beloved', it felt like the right time to turn my hand to something 'lighter'. Hence this mini-musical was born.

Scoring:
Piano
The narrator: soprano, tenor or baritone soloist
Queen Margaret: soprano soloist
King David; baritone or tenor soloist
Alkwine: baritone or tenor soloist
The 'Hunters' : children from the chorus
Chorus, (mixed adults and children) mostly singing in unison, occasionally dividing

Optional additional roles (acting parts):
King Malcolm;

the stag;
the children of Queen Margaret

First Performance:
given on 13th May 2017, at St Mungo's Church, West Linton.

soloists: Matthew Todd, Tembu Rongong, Philip Todd, Janet MacKenzie
piano: Brian Davidson
choir: local children and gathered friends of the composer

This is My Beloved (2016)

Chamber orchestra version completed April 2016

Symphony orchestra version completed September 2016

At the suggestion of Dr Brian Chatpo Koo, founding conductor and artistic director of the
Sydney Contemporary Orchestra,  I re-worked the original music (scored for Chamber Orchestra) into a symphonic version. The original structure remains largely unchanged apart from a small amount of new material in 'Transfiguration' around rehearsal mark AA.

In brief:
Music and words exploring Divine love and human journeying, through the lens of scenes from the life of Jesus.

Libretto:
drawn from: 4 poems by Helen Rongong; extracts from 'Revelations of Divine Love' by Julian of Norwich (c.1342- after 1416) in a translation by Sheila Upjohn; and a paraphrase of a short extract from Luke's Gospel

Composer's note:
The music is almost entirely pictorial or impressionistic - a musical re-imagining of events from Christian scripture. In places I have used very light scoring: I aimed to create a sense of spaciousness, and of being unhurried, allowing (I hope) each listener to drift within the music, sift the words, and unfold the scenes in their own minds.

Scoring (chamber orchestra version):
SSATB choir, with optional tenor solo part
3 flutes (fl. 3 also plays piccolo)
2 oboes
clarinet
bassoon
3 horns in F
trumpet in C
snare drum, triangle, cymbals, gong, sleigh bells, woodblock
harp
piano
1st & 2nd violins
violas
violoncelli
double basses

For the symphony orchestra version, the above instruments are still required, plus additional instruments as detailed below:
2nd clarinet
2nd bassoon
4th horn in F
2nd trumpet in C
1st & 2nd tenor trombone
bass trombone
tuba

2nd harp
timpani
maracas

Dappled Things (2015)

In brief:
A five-part song-cycle based on poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins. My original version for tenor and piano was dedicated to Matthew Todd and Dr. Archibald Ewing.

Scoring:
baritone (or tenor) and piano

First Performance:
given at St John's Church, Princes Street in August 2015 as part of the 2015 Just Festival (Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

baritone: Tembu Rongong
piano: Philip Coad

The Beckoning Waters (2014)

In brief:
Words and music exploring the recurring imagery within scripture of a vast river. The river transforms the surrounding landscape and brings it into fullness of life.

Libretto:
based on a series of poems by contemporary British poet Helen Rongong. Please note, as the libretto does not follow the poems very strictly - (some lines were omitted, and others were repeated or rearranged ), interested parties might also wish to view the original poems.

Scoring:
baritone soloist
tenor soloist
soprano soloist
SATB chorus
2 flutes (Fl. 2 also plays piccolo)

2 oboes (Ob. 1 also plays cor anglais)
clarinet
bassoon
triangle, snare drum, cymbals
harp
1st & 2nd violins
violas
violoncelli
double basses


First Performance:
given in October 2014, at St Philip's Church, Logie Green Road, Edinburgh.

conductor: Tembu Rongong
soloists: Matthew Todd, James Hutchinson, Isolde James-Griffiths

choir and orchestra: gathered friends of the composer and conductor, from Edinburgh, Fife and further afield

Songs from Luke (2013)

In brief:
A miniature oratorio for Advent or Christmas, based on the first chapters of Luke's Gospel
 
Libretto:
The songs are settings of poems by Helen Rongong. Helen based each of her poems on the words of different people in the unfolding nativity story, as told by Luke: thus we have songs from Gabriel and Mary, but also songs from less well-known characters.

Composer's note:
The idea for this composition came from my husband, who pointed out to me that the start of Luke's gospel reads as a series of songs. We then approached Helen Rongong to write the poems. The piece is in two parts: loosely, the first half refers to 'promises given', and the second half , to 'promises fulfilled'.

Scoring:
soprano soloist
mezzo-soprano soloist
alto soloist
tenor soloist
baritone soloist
bass soloist
SATB chorus
flute
oboe
clarinet
harp
glockenspiel (or celeste or xylophone or piano)
1st & 2nd violins
Violoncelli

 

First Performance:
given in December 2013 at St James' Church, Goldenacre, Edinburgh

conductor: Tembu Rongong
soloists: Isolde James-Griffith, James Hutchinson, Janet McKenzie, Sally Fraser, Matthew Todd, Benedikt Jetter
choir and orchestra: gathered friends of the composer and conductor, from Edinburgh, Fife and further afield

A Moment of Eternity (2012)

In brief:
A song-cycle based on the 'I am' sayings of Jesus, from John's Gospel and the book of Revelation. Eight songs in total, including a Processional and Recessional.

Libretto:
The songs are settings of sacred poems by contemporary British poet Helen Rongong.

Composer's note:
I had an idea that I wanted to explore the 'I am' sayings of Jesus. At first I attempted scribbling a few lines of verse myself, but soon realised that Helen would do a far better job. We had already collaborated on children's songs, but this was our first attempt at writing together for choir. Helen's resultant poems were beautiful, and the words very much dictated how the music developed. 

Scoring:
soprano soloist
baritone soloist
SAB chorus
harp

First Performance:
given in St James' Church, Goldenacre, Edinburgh on 8th September 2012

soloists: Tembu Rongong, Isolde James-Griffiths. Harp: Hannah Haynes

Further Performances include:

9th March 2013, St Columba's Free Church, Royal Mile, Edinburgh

18th January 2014, Canonmills Baptist Church, Edinburgh

29th August 2015, St John's Church, Princes Street, Edinburgh (as part of the '2015 Just Festival')

Patrick's Song (2010)

In brief:
setting of a poem by Elspeth Murray and Richard Medrington
 

Scoring:
voice, harp, violin

Performances:
Has been performed many, many times, including at St James' church Goldenacre, Edinburgh (with Tembu Rongong as the soloist); and St Columba's Church on the Royal Mile (with Isolde James-Griffith as the soloist).