Portions of Eternity is a new song cycle. Rintrah Roars (for voice, harp and piano), an extract from William Blake’s ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’, was written in 2016 and first performed by April Fredrick and the Riot Ensemble. I have now rewritten that song (without harp) and added two more – ‘The Bard’ and ‘Thel’ – calling the cycle Portions of Eternity. Blake’s astonishing texts have often been a source of musical ideas for me: Urizen (viola with piano or string orchestra) was written in 1983 and was followed by This World (for choir and 2 trumpets) in 1994 and Fuzon (string quartet) in 2012.
The title is taken from Blake’s words: ‘The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea and the destructive sword are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man.’
A new William Blake inspired piece, Rintrah Roars for soprano (April Fredrick), harp and piano was premiered on October 29th at a wildly diverse concert by the Riot Ensemble, including works by Lee Westwood, Laurence Osborn, Yukiko Watanabe and many members of New Music Brighton.
On 26th October, Tri (three movements for six violas) was played (superbly and enthusiastically!) at the London Guildhall School of Music viola day. It has also been performed in Spain and Wales (the Royal Welsh College of Music).
My Clarinet Sonata was premiered (after nearly 50 years!) by Steve Dummer (clarinet) and Yoko Ono (piano) at the Chapel Royal, Brighton on 18th October
Fuzon was performed on 31st July as part of the Brighton Philharmonic chamber music series by the string quartet Roland Roberts and Ani Batikian (violins), Morgan Goff (viola) and Peter Adams (‘cello).
‘This was certainly the most challenging, and probably the most satisfying work in the programme for the players’ – Lark Reviews
The first performance of the new Touch and Go (3rd movement of ‘In Touch’ for clarinet, ‘cello and piano) was premiered by the terrific Talkestra group in Brighton on 2nd July.
Looking Back was played in London at a Schubert Society of Great Britain concert on 4th May by Siân Philipps and Per Rundberg in a programme also featuring the Enescu 3rd sonata.
Stranger, Lover, Dancer was played by Alice Neary at the Presteigne Festival on 28th August in a programme including works by Bach, Dutilleux and Robert Saxton.
Americana (three pieces for five flutes) had its first performance on 18th March in ‘Music and Wine at St Luke’s’, Brighton, performed by Sussex Flutes.
Stranger, Lover, Dancer for solo ‘cello was performed by Jessie Ann Richardson at the Brickwall Music Society in Sussex on 19th February.
‘Tattiesque’ was played by the wonderful Trittico at ‘Music in the Village’ St. Mary’s Church, London E17 on 26th November together with music by Poulenc, Malcolm Arnold, Madeleine Dring, Rhian Samuel, Rob Keeley, Sadie Harrison and Arvo Pärt.
‘Fuzon’ for string quartet can now be heard in a powerful live recording by the Piatti Quartet on YouTube at https://youtu.be/jFElZOSC6oU
‘Stranger, Lover, Dancer’ for solo ‘cello has just been published. See Comus Edition.
Just completed ‘Americana’ for five flutes – three short pieces: ‘Late Nights’, ‘Big Skies’ and ‘Heading South’ – lasting about 7 minutes.
‘Coronach’ for treble recorder and harpsichord was written for recorder virtuoso John Turner, he gave the first performance at Bury on 26 September in a concert also featuring countertenor James Bowman.
The first performance of ‘Stranger, Lover, Dancer’ for solo ‘cello was at the Cheltenham Festival on 2nd July played by Jessie Ann Richardson. See the Cheltenham Festival page.
Thomas Gould’s CD Bach to Parker (which includes ‘Bopbop’) has been greeted with great reviews! Richard Morrison in ‘The Times’ describes it as ‘Scythingly scintillating playing from a young virtuoso with a magpie mind’.
I have just rewritten ‘Another Orpheus’ for string orchestra (a dramatic piece based on Shelley’s ‘Hellas’ – 1 movt. c. 8 mins). Parts and score are now available from me.
John Hawkins studied composition with Malcolm Williamson and Elisabeth Lutyens. He has written many chamber, vocal and orchestral pieces, which have been performed worldwide, as well as successful music for children,