Path to Remembrance

This piece of Wind Orchestra music has been written as a dedication to my sister, Caroline who passed away late last year from cancer. I want this to be a free download (parts and score on PDF) all I’d ask is that groups could make a contribution, no matter how small to any local Cancer Charity.

Here is the music:

Email me directly or through the website.

I’ll send the zip file right away.

Feel free to share it.


The Composer

I have been writing music for as long as I can remember. It was quite a long time before anything was published although many things were performed. I wrote things mainly for practical purposes, the musicals for the students at school for example. I created work that was inclusive, customised for the actual available cast and musicians and differentiated by ability. None of it was ever published but the performances were appreciated by the performers and the audience.

I’ve written for brass ensemble, woodwind groups, wind orchestras, string groups, choirs, flute choirs, clarinet choirs, sax choirs as well as solo instruments with piano.

I am in awe of the contemporary composers writing today. I’d be on the breadline if I depended on my compositions for an income. These talented and brave people have my total respect. Unlike myself, they are constantly expected to be original and innovative whilst trying to ensure that the music is performed and appreciated. The quest for new sounds is not always what audiences want and it certainly is not something that I feel compelled to do.

I’m not frivolous about my work. I expect to create something that has meaning and emotion using largely a musical vocabulary that is fairly easily understood. There have been many great works of fiction created without the need to invent new words or the need to make things as difficult to comprehend as possible.

“The Price of Feeling” for wind orchestra explores the nature of anxiety and the manic highs and lows of this common condition. “Las Encantadas” depicts the discovery of the Galapagos Islands, exploring how the first people to arrive there might have reacted to such beauty and such strange newly discovered creatures. “The Search for Hope”, written in a year of war, famine, climate emergency and increasing poverty, finds hope in a single descending minor third depicting the pitch of a gentle voice addressing a loved one. “Reunited” is a joyful piece to celebrate musicians returning to their groups after the pandemic lockdowns.

I don’t feel compelled to be completely original in the writing although I’m very conscious of the need for each piece to be entirely different from the rest. There are still elements of scoring that are quite innovative and some ideas about form and cohesion that I have tended to develop but I am not haunted by the “avant garde”.

Maybe that’s why I’m not rich. Just honest.



The Journey Home

The week of music making and coaching composers at The Bavarian Music Academy in Marktoberdorf was full of wonderful people, great tutors/conductors and musicians who were keen to perform well together and enjoy one another’s company. After a great concert on Saturday evening and a final drink together in the Bierkeller, everyone met at breakfast to say their goodbyes.

I was fortunate to get a lift to Munich Airport with Andreas, who kindly took me right to the terminal in very good time. We chatted about the lack of traffic and the great course which had just concluded.

In the airport there was a big queue (Q1) which appeared to be for the Sky Priority check-in. I wended my way to the front of the ordinary check in and wondered if I was in the right place. Priority had only one desk open, manned by someone with the speed and motivation of a tortoise glued to the floor. I started to think that I must be in the wrong queue and might have to move to the back of the now huge amount of people mesmerised by the lack of progress. Just then a slightly more animated person opened the non-priority desk and the whole queue fell in behind me. After dropping the case off, the agent gestured for me to head left, which I obediently did. It took a while to work out that the security gate was the other way.

The next queue(Q2) was for security. The Sky Priority people had one gate and the others three. Self scanning of the boarding card is meant to save time and labour but it doesn’t because half of them don’t scan properly and the grumpy gate keeper has to come out and enter the numbers by hand. He had to do that for me and I definitely scanned it with aplomb.

The next queue (Q4) is to go through perhaps the slowest security check ever. There appeared to be two sides but in the end it was just one. They were scanning a little girl in a tiny summer dress as if they were sure that she was hiding some offensive weapon. Perhaps checking their list of 7 year old terrorists.

Eventually I got through with far less fuss than the little child had. Since I had allowed three hours for this I now had two hours before the flight boarded. I was glad to have that whole thing out of the way and got in the queue for coffee (Q5).

At the gate Sky Priority people queued first then everyone else queued to pass through the barrier. Again the self scanning slowed everyone down. As (Q6) got through we walked to the aircraft. It’s fascinating to watch the faces of people who had bought the official sized cabin bag when it won’t fit in the overhead locker without using brute force. No one can move until the people ahead have finally taken their seats. (Q7)

A feeling of satisfaction that the howling baby is at least two rows away and people are getting settled. We sat and waited for the aircraft to move. It didn’t. An announcement that no one knows why we’re not moving.

The captain made several announcements about how little he knew about the situation. Some sort of security issue. He announced that no planes were taking off. A rumour of some kind of explosive device or a piece of unaccompanied baggage had been loaded.

After another hour he announced that we would not like it but we’d have to disembark with all belongings and re check-in. This was in the end a poor translation as we had to go through security again, but not check-in. That was a good thing as the glued tortoise was probably still at the desk.

It took as long to get off as it did to get on as the wedged-in cabin bags proved just as awkward to get out.(Q8)

Back in the terminal it was chaos. Every plane had disembarked and no attempt had been made to usher people through plane by plane so around 1000 people are now outside security again. A board said that about 8 flights should use fast-track; remember the single gate?

An announcement was made that cause applause and ironic cheers but that drowned out the English version. It turned out to be advice to stay 1.5 metres apart. We were 1.5 cm apart. Police came and started ushering people, including myself out of the terminal. Most didn’t go because there was no way out. It was the departures area.

I went back in and found myself at the back of the vast throng (Q9) although it’s a bit more of a rabble than a queue.

It took hours to get through the little gate although my scan worked perfectly; practice makes perfect. Q9 was to get scanned again and get through the security check, I noticed that my connection from Amsterdam to Leeds would now be boarding.

Back to the boarding gate (Q10). The Captain was there telling us that we couldn’t leave until all of the passengers with luggage checked-in had managed to fight their way through the crowds.

Hilariously, they boarded the lucky Sky Priority customers first then everyone else.(Q11)

Now, you’d think that having practised putting the *** bag in the same *** overhead locker, they’d now manage it better or quicker. Nope! (Q12).

Back on board, we were told that information about transfers and mitigation would be given 20 minutes before landing in Amsterdam. There was a later flight to Leeds that with luck, I could get. In the end we took so long to get away that all transfers were missed. KLM reps would meet us and guide us through the next part of the (ordeal) journey.

At Amsterdam the two reps (standing together so that they couldn’t deal with more than one person at a time)sent us to a self check in machine to print out transfer boarding cards. Afterwards I asked if baggage would be transferred to the Leeds plane and was told it would and dismissively sent towards a bus rank for hotel transfer.

There were many buses and many hotels so I followed some passengers I recognised.

The bus took us to a hotel. It wasn’t the right one then I walked next door to the correct one. I was asked for a voucher. I had checked the website and all the information and no voucher could be found. The guy in the queue(Q13 unlucky) had found information as he was with Air France. I couldn’t find any way to find or print a voucher. No voucher, no room.

There were many hotels. showed one nearby at 95 euros and I walked around to find it.The guys behind the desk seemed to sense that I might have had a tough day. They organised a taxi for me for 6:00am to be back in the airport three hours before my flight.

The basic room felt really lonely after the wonderful, friendly atmosphere of Marktoberdorf. I had no luggage so basic things like toothbrushes, razors and wine were unavailable. I asked the four guys what there was nearby restaurant wise. “Oh man” they said “Ya day jus gat worse” It was McDonalds or nothing.

Back at the hotel I set the alarm for 5:15am and went to bed. There was football on the TV and my team had lost their first game of the season.

At 3:30 am a very loud noise woke me. I first wondered how my phone had done this but no, it was the fire alarm.

Voices outside confirmed that people were up. It went off three times. I heard them say that someone had burned a pizza in the microwave at reception. It didn’t occur to me how bad pizza is if you microwave it and yet it’s worse if you actually set fire to it. So I was really wakened by poor culinary skills.

I had gotten up early to clean teeth and generally prepare for the flight home but there was nothing to do so I headed in the taxi for the airport.

There was no need to check in so I headed straight for the security area. Q14 was orderly but huge and it took a long time to get through but I had allowed plenty of time. There was a queue for passport checks(Q15) and I could use the automatic digital passport checking machines. The machine informed me that due to Brexit, I would then have to queue (q16)to get my passport stamped, the first stamp in my passport ever.

In the main area there were coffee places and breakfast bars but the queues were too long. I found a little kiosk on the way to the gate.

At the gate there was a queue(17) but in the end they boarded everyone by priority which was marked on their boarding pass. The propriety people had saved themselves at least 2 minutes of standing there.

The flight was really full and overhead locker wrestling was the order of the day. When I finally sat down it was now 25 hours since I’d left the haven of Marktoberdorf.

It took off largely on time and apart from the giant suchi takeaway that the guy next to me ate throughout the flight and the howling baby nearby I only had to worry about the potential chaos of Leeds/Bradford airport.

Q18 was amazingly quick and after a wait for the suitcase I was back. My friends who came to the concert had driven home to Sheffield with my suit etc. They had an overnight stop and still reached home before me.

Still, it could have been worse………………………………………….


A Christmas Festival

Leroy Anderson probably wrote one of the best Christmas arrangements ever in 1950 when this piece was published. I have known it since childhood and it has a special place in the hearts of many players.

It is often, however performed very poorly and a look at the tempo structure of the piece can help to improve the experience for players and audience alike.

The first step is to look at the markings and most people get the opening tempo right. After the allargando, if the 152bpm doesn’t happen; and it’s often a dodgy moment, the piece will not be able to function properly.

The tempo has to be lively and when the l’istesso tempo marking arrives in “God Rest Ye…” it does mean keep the speed. This can drag terribly and whn you arrive at “Good King…..” it becomes necessary to speed up to 144bpm instead of easing the tempo down. When you get to “Hark the Herald…” the tempo can ease to 132bpm but on many occasions it drops well below this.

It’s clear that Leroy has carefully planned his tempi to ease with each section to the “Silent Night”part which is not terribly slow it is marked around 86 bpm which stops it from dragging and allows the music to flow. The dynamics are really effective here with a chance fro clarinets to play sotto voce and create a lovely atmosphere.

Picking up the speed for “Jingle Bells” can be tricky and it has to get back to 144bpm. If the balance is right the trombone entry will be heard easily.

There’s no rall. into the 103bpm ending sequence so the triplets can be easily subdivided. Again, this section is often too slow and loses the momentum of the piece.

Finally the 185 bpm ending is a very bright tempo and players need to be prepared for it. If all goes well it’s a great five and a half minutes of any concert in December but if it lasts seven minutes, it loses a lot of the sparkle.

Merry Christmas 2020


Musical thoughts and Covid

This year has been very tough for musicians. Professionals with secure jobs have suffered due to lockdowns and lack of performances. Semi-professionals have had all their work suspended, often with no support and keen amateur players have lost a huge part of their musical and social lives.

I have decided to fund a recording of some of my music in order to allow local semi-professional players to, at least get to play together and be paid a fee. I’ll try to get some donations from sympathetic people to make that fee decent and fund the venue and recording people.

If you’d like to help in any way or be involved please email.


Compositions List

Wind Orchestra:

Homecoming (unpublished)

Alice in Wonderland


Cat Walk

Children of the World- Wind orchestra and choir



I am not yet born- wind orchestra and choir

In the Moment

Praeludium (manuscript)

Radio Days


Sherwood Folk

The Price of Feeling – wind orchestra with optional choir

Mischief and Meditation

Chorale Prelude

Brass ensembles

A single Step – Brass Band (manuscript)

Alleycat for Brass

Aviator- Brass and percussion

Aviator- Brass Band

Bebop for brass and percussion

Blewz – Brass Band

Blewz- Brass and percussion

Brass Basiliana for Brass and percussion

Brass Brasiliana- Brass band

Carol Fantasy for Brass

Cat Burglar for Brass Ensemble

Cat Walk -Brass Ensemble

Chorale Prelude -Brass Band

Chorale Prelude -Brass Ensemble

Cirque Russe- Brass Band

Cirque Russe- Brass Ensemble

Closure- Brass Ensemble

Cool Pieces – Trumpet/Piano opt rhythm section

Darkest Hour- Brass ensemble

Darkest Hour-Brass Band

Elegy- Soprano cornet and brass band

Funk – Brass band

Funk- Brass and percussion

Harlequin Dances- Brass Band

Harlequin Dances- Brass Ensemble

Marsden Moor- Brass Ensemble

Praeludium- Brass ensemble

Riffilicious- Brass Ensemble

Sea of Tranquility- Brass Band

Showtime-Brass Band

Showtime-Brass ensemble

Showtime-Flute ensemble

Stray Cat- Brass ensemble

Tango de Buenos Aires- brass and percussion

Tango de Buenos Aires- Brass Band

Tubilation- Tuba solo w brass band

Tubilation- Tuba solo w brass ensemble

Woodwind ensembles

Alleycat for Clarinet Choir

Alleycat for Sax choir

Andromeda for Flute choir

Atlantic Air for Flute Choir

Blackwood Breeze for Clarinet Choir

Blackwood Breeze for Woodwind Orchestra

Carol Fantasy for Clarinet Choir

Cat Burglar for Carinet Choir

Cat Walk -Clarinet Choir

Cat Walk -Sax Ensemble

Closure- Sax Choir

Cool Pieces – Saxophone/Piano opt rhythm section

Dance of the Sprite- Flute choir

Dark Matter- Flute Choir

Harlequin Dances- Clarinet Choir

Harlequin Dances- Sax Choir

Marsden Moor- Clarinet Choir

Quicksilver-Flute Ensemble

Rondo di Cairoli- Flute ensemble

Rondo di Cairoli-Clarinet choir (manuscript)

Sea of Tranquility- Flute Choir

Showtime-Sax Choir

Thornbury Air- clarinet choir

Thornbury Air- woodwind orchestra (manuscript)

Twin Spires- wind quintet


Live at the Empire

Maurice and his Amazing Educated Rodents

School- the Scandal

The Seven Ages of Man

String orchestra

Marsden Moor String Orchestra (manuscript)


Cool pieces for Trumpet and piano (with bass, drum optional parts)

Celebration Album (one item flute and piano)

Scherzo for Trumpet and piano


Electronic recordings, unpublished music, as well as live recordings of some published works is available at:


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