Back Catalogue

Contains details of the following works:

Triduana (2018)
Soundtrack to an Unwritten Film (2018)
The Legend of King David and the Stag (2017)
Rondeau for Harp and 'Cello (2017)
Fantasy Piece for Oboe and Piano (2016)
This is My Beloved (2016)
Dappled Things (2015)
The Beckoning Waters (2014)
Songs from Luke (2013)
Moment of Eternity (2012)
Patrick's Song (2010)
 

Triduana (2018)

In brief:
A cantata based on the unusual life of St.Triduana. Duration: approx. 25 minutes.

Libretto:
The libretto is based on a series of poems by Lynsay Downs and tells the strange story of Triduana's life. As there was not a huge amount of historical evidence to go on (and indeed, there is even debate over whether or not Triduana was a real person) we were able to be imaginative. The gist of the story, however, is that St Triduana came over to Scotland with Regulus, bringing with her the bones of Saint Andrew. Once in Scotland her beauty (and especially her beautiful eyes) attracted the (unwanted) attentions of the local king, Nechtan, who desired to marry her. In order to prevent this unwelcome development, Triduana gouged out her own eyes and these were presented to Nechtan on pins. Presumably she felt he would not take a simple 'no' for an answer. At that time regents were not allowed to have been blind, or to have blind consorts, so by choosing this particular form of disfigurement she was ruling out the possibility of becoming queen. Thus Triduana's story continues that she remained a simple nun, but travelled further North and preached the gospel. She also came to be associated with healing miracles.  

Lynsay says "I was delighted to be invited to indulge my love of quirky saints and storytelling in the poems that form Triduana’s libretto. Hannah had expressed the desire for the poems to be a series of pictures from Triduana’s life; this is why I chose to write in Rictameters.
      There is a fairytale quality to Triduana’s life that I have tried to reflect in the poems and emphasised with the antiphon. Beyond that water, wells and baptism dominate the sensory and theological worlds of Triduana. I hope you enjoy journeying with her."

Composer's note:

With Lynsay’s agreement, I decided to blur the boundaries between some of the poems. Nechtan runs straight on into Orkney. In doing this I hoped to convey my conflicting feelings towards the story we were telling. I didn’t want it to be like, “Well folks, Triduana has had this horrible experience, but hey, that’s all okay now, and we can forget all about it because look, some other guys are getting saved and healed.” Instead, I wanted the music to be authentic to the horror. This is why, in Orkney, I flick between major and minor chords a lot, even though the words seem happy. It’s as if I’m imagining Triduana, having gone North, still internally working through her recent experiences, and coming to terms with what has happened. I imagine that must have taken some time. By the poem Restalrig, which runs straight into the closing Antiphon, I imagine her much more at peace.    
         
In the music I have not adhered to the strict rhythm of the poems, but have, with Lynsay’s agreement, interpreted each one quite freely, making use of melisma and word-painting. Whilst technically a cantata, personally I think of this music as primarily orchestral. Each ‘scene’ has its own distinctive feel and soundscape. But I hope that by beginning and ending with an Antiphon, and by having some musical ideas that recur in different places, I have succeeded in tying the piece together to form a cohesive whole. Unusually for my works, and in order to reflect the character of King Nechtan, the trumpet has a prominent, and at times, deliberately overbearing role.

Scoring:
2 Flutes
2 Oboes
2 Clarinets in B flat (also making use of instruments in A)
2 Bassoons
2 French Horns in F
2 Trumpets in B flat

Timpani
Percussion (Triangle, Gong, Guiro, Cymbals)
Glockenspiel
Harp

Soprano Soloist
Mezzo-Soprano Soloist
Baritone Soloist
Choir (SATB, but they are often employed singing in unison)

1st Violins
2nd Violins
Violas
Violoncellos
Double Basses

Soundtrack to an Unwritten Film (2017)

In brief:
Film-like music. Duration: approx. 9 minutes

Composer's note:
This piece was originally conceived of as a short, simple piece for harp and viola duet, dedicated to my daughter who was learning viola, and in the key of C major (which is an easy one for that instrument). I still have the original sketch for the piece in this form, however, the music later developed into a longer and more complex form, with the addition of several more instruments and additional thematic material. I gave the finished piece the title that I did because it seems to be very visual music, conjuring up different scenes and images. In this music I indulged my love of writing romantic, tranquil liquid melodies but also incorporated contrasting sections. A film-making friend, Phil Todd describes the music like this, "It's a beautiful piece. It evoked a sort of magical fairytale imagery for me; a story that starts out in happy security but then involves an adventure into darker and scarier lands. The descending runs on the harp are particularly pretty."

Scoring:
2 Flutes
2 Oboes
2 Clarinets in B flat (N.B. the Cl. parts are particularly tricky, involving high entries)
2 Bassoons
2 French Horns in F
1 Tenor trombone

Timpani
Percussion (Triangle, Glockenspiel, Chimes, Castanets,)
Harp

1st Violins
2nd Violins
Violas
Violoncelli
Double Basses

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

Rondeau for Harp and 'Cello (2017)

In brief:
Short piece dedicated to my friend, the 'cellist Heather Coates.

Composer's note:
A Rondo, by definition, follows the structure ABACADA etc. Here, my recurring theme is supposed to be reminiscent of a child's musical box, and initially the theme is always strictly in tempo, and almost mechanical in its feel. However, by the end of the piece, in the theme's final rendering, I have it being played in a much more animated fashion. This time it is also harmonically different from its original incarnation, which shouldn't really happen in a true rondo.  The contrasting sections, in between the renderings of the main theme, are fluid, free and dance-like.

First Performance:
given during a concert at St Mungo's Church, West Linton, 24th March 2017

'Cello: Heather Coates
Harp: Hannah Haynes

Fantasy Piece for Oboe and Piano (2016)

In brief:
Short piece exploring the sonority of the oboe in different registers. Slow melodies contrast with faster semiquaver motifs, but the overall feel of the music is spacious. Duration: Approx 5 1/2 minutes. Dedicated to my friends Philip Coad (piano) and Gavin Pettinger (oboe). 

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).