In 2009 I was commissioned to write a cello concerto by the Sydenham International Music Festival for one of their rising stars, Maja Bogdanović. Since her musical and personal connection with the amazing violinist Daniel Rowland, it had been in my mind to write them a double concerto. Overshadowed by the famous Brahms double, this was a somewhat daunting task. It is a piece which reflects ideas of journeys which develop initial ideas as the music unfolds and unlike previous concertos, there is no first movement cadenza.
In 2020-21, a friend and colleague asked me if I would write a piece to mark the loss of his mother. He also wanted it, in some way, to be for both of his late parents. He told me how fond of my tone poem the ‘Valley of Vision’ she was, so I ‘hid’ a few quotations from that piece in the new one. He also requested something akin in mood to the Elgar ‘Elegy for Strings’.The resulting composition, I hope, meets all of these wishes.
The viola concerto was written in 2020. The idea came after attending the recording sessions and performances of a double concerto for violin, viola and string orchestra by my fellow composer and friend David Matthews. The lovely playing of the viola part by Sarah-Jane Bradley set off some ideas for a viola concerto of my own.
In 2007 the mixed chamber music ensemble ‘Liquid Architecture’ commissioned me to write them an octet for their appearance at the Chelsea Schubert Festival. The Schubert Octet was on their programme so the instrumentation was pre-determined: clarinet, horn, bassoon, 2 violins, viola, cello and double bass. The piece is in one continuous movement in four sections: Adagio, Allegro, Andante and Allegro.