ANDREW DOWNES PUBLISHED
VOCAL SOLO/SONG CYCLES - unaccompanied soloist, or soloist with piano, instrumental or orchestral accompaniment
SACRED MASS FOR SOLO VOICE Opus 96 (2007) 20'
This work was composed for Paula Downes (soprano), who gave the first performance in a recital at the Chapel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, USA on March 6th 2008. Paula Downes gave the first UK performance of the Benedictus and Agnus Dei from this work in St Saviour's Church, Hagley, Worcestershire, on July 10th 2010.
Soloists with piano accompaniment:-
CASTERBRIDGE FAIR Opus 1 (1973) 11' View Score
A setting of 5 Thomas Hardy poems for baritone or mezzo-soprano and piano.
First performed by Michael George accompanied by Ruth Gerald at the opening concert in the newly built Recital Hall of the Birmingham School of Music on June 11th 1973.
Prize winner in the 1980 Stroud Festival International Composers' Competition. Several performances of the songs have since taken place in the same hall by students from Birmingham Conservatoire.
'...the songs impressed by their expressive and beautifully shaped vocal
line and simple though telling accompaniments.'
THE MUSICAL TIMES
OLD LOVE'S DOMAIN Opus 29 (1983) 21' View Score
A setting of 5 Thomas Hardy poems for tenor or soprano and piano.
Commissioned by John Mitchinson and recorded by him, accompanied by pianist Michael Pollock, for BBC Radio 3 on 4th June 1985 at the BBC Pebble Mill studios in Birmingham. This first performance was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 28th October 1985. John Mitchinson and Michael Pollock gave subsequent performances on radio and in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham.
This work has since been performed on numerous occasions by Paula Downes, accompanied respectively by Verene Rimlinger, Anna Downes, Mark Williams, Andrew Tortise, Gillian Cracknell and David Trippett. Performances by these artists have taken place at: the Candili Singing Course, Greece (August 1999); St John's Church, Hagley (September 1999); the Chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge (November 1999); the Bateman Auditorium of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge (January 2000); the Master's Lodge of Trinity College, Cambridge, (February 2000); the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (May 2001); Birmingham Cathedral (July 2002); the ‘Festival Musiques en Mer’ Mediterranean Cruise (August 2002); Y Tabernacl, Machynlleth (April 2003); the Art Gallery, Wednesbury (April 2004); St Sepulchre's Church, Holborn, London (February 2005); and the Church of St John the Evangelist, Bowdain Street, Boston, Massachussets, USA (September 2008). Paula recorded the work with David Trippett in July 2000 on a CD of song cycles by Andrew Downes, entitled 'Old Love's Domain'. (see Discography).
To hear a track from this CD, and/or to purchase a copy of it, click here
Paula Downes has also made a series of 5 films depicting the songs. View films
In a concert of music by Andrew Downes on June 21st 2005, in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham (to mark the retirement of the composer from Birmingham Conservatoire), the cycle was performed by tenor Julian Pike with accompanist Simon Nicholls. Julian Pike, accompanied by Duncan Honeybourne, then performed the cycle at the 2006 Thomas Hardy Festival in Dorchester, Dorset.
'...on the words "my weary beloved's face", as tenor Julian Pike quietly created a key change and two sparse chords chimed on the piano, there came that sudden, involuntary rush of emotion that told you this was the real thing.
'This masterly, haunting cycle made a poignant finish to a genuinely affecting evening of Downes' music.' Richard Bratby BIRMINGHAM POST
SONGS FROM SPOON RIVER Opus 39 (1986) 22'
A setting of 5 poems from Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology for mezzo soprano and piano.
Composed for Sarah Walker and recorded by her, with pianist Roger Vignoles, at St George’s Brandon Hill, Bristol, for BBC Radio 3 on December 8th 1988. This recording was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on July 22nd 1990.
Performed at the Tanglewood Festival in August 1994 by New York Metropolitan Opera Soloist, Stephanie Blythe; and at the University of New Mexico Composers' Symposium in March 1995 by Carin Logue with pianist, Joe McCanna.
This work has subsequently been performed on numerous occasions by Paula Downes, accompanied by David Trippett, Ian Palmer, and Laura Temim respectively. Performances by these artists have taken place at: the Chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge (May 2000); the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (June 2000); the Conservatoire National de Region d'Aubervillers, Paris (April 2001); the ‘Festival Musiques en Mer’ Mediterranean Cruise (August 2002); the National Portrait Gallery, London (August 2004); the Cathedral Church of St Paul, Boston, Massachusetts, USA (November 2007); Taylor House, Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts, USA (November 2007); the Church of St John the Evangelist, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, (April 2008); and Eastern Nazarene College, Quincy, Massachusetts, USA (October 2008).
Paula recorded the work with David Trippett in July 2000 on a CD of song cycles by Andrew Downes, entitled 'Old Love's Domain'. Songs from Spoon River from this CD has been broadcast on Rhubarbradio.com and many times on Musicians Page Radio, Los Angeles, USA. To purchase the CD, click here
Paula Downes has also made a series of 5 films depicting the songs. These films were premiered at Andrew Downes' 60th Birthday Concert at Birmingham Conservatoire on November 29th 2010. View films In this same concert, the songs were also given a live performance by Rose Mitchell (mezzo-soprano) and David Arthur (piano).
A theatrical production of the songs, directed by Rena Sharon, took place at the Frederick Wood Theatre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada on 24th June 2011.
SONGS OF LOVE Opus 91 (2006) 18’
Settings of 4 poems for high soprano and piano. The poems are: How do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning; To My Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet; One Blessing Had I by Emily Dickinson; and I Love Thee by Eliza Acton. The songs were composed for Paula Downes (soprano) and David Trippett (piano), who gave the first performance at University Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA on Thursday February 1st 2007. The UK premiere was given by Jenny Saunders (soprano) and Julian Hellaby (piano) at the Ellen Terry Building, Coventry University, on February 28th 2009. One Blessing Had I from the cycle was performed by Harrah Friedlander accompanied by Jason Carlson at Lutkin Hall, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA in June 2012.
Paula Downes has made a series of 4 films depicting the films. View films
An arrangement by Lee Armstrong for soprano solo and strings was given its world premiere at St George's Church, Edgbaston, Birmingham (UK), on May 10th 2010, by Paula Downes (soprano) and the Central England Ensemble conducted by Lee Armstrong.
FINISHED FIELDS Opus 95 (2007) 20'
A cycle of 4 songs to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the death of Wilfred Owen. The songs are settings of poems by this great World War 1 poet: 1914; Futility; Asleep; Happiness. The songs were composed for Jonathan Pugsley (baritone) and Duncan Honeybourne (piano), who gave the first performance at St Mary’s Church, Weymouth, Dorset, on Wednesday November 12th 2008, in a concert entitled Finished Fields, marking the 90th anniversary of both the death of Wilfred Owen and the end of World War 1. The concert was repeated on Friday November 14th at Holy Trinity Church, Eccleshall, Staffordshire.
Paula Downes (soprano) and David Trippett (piano) gave the USA premiere at the Memorial Church, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 27th 2009, and a subsequent performance at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England, in October 2010.
Paula Downes has made a series of 4 films depicting the films. View films
Soloists with instrumental
FIVE HOLY SONGS Opus 11 (1976) 20'
A setting of 5 poems by John Donne for counter-tenor, mezzo-soprano or baritone with 3 violins, 2 violas, 2 'cellos and double bass.
First performed on 17th November 1975 in the Recital Hall of the Birmingham School of Music by Andrew Downes accompanied by Caroline Mounsey, Stephen Muth, Kevin Vaughan (violins), Penny Midmer, Susan Ward (violas), David Thorne, Catherine Clarke (cellos) and Roderick Dunk (double bass). These artists gave subsequent performances of the work at Ripple Church, Upton-on-Severn as part of the Upton Association of the Arts concert series (April 1976) and at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge (May 1976).
LOST LOVE Opus 15 (1977) 15' View Score
to Lost Love, performed by Paula Downes, David Trippett, Arielle Hansen and Elizabeth Main
A setting of 4 Thomas Hardy poems for soprano soloist with tenor recorder/flute; viol da gamba/cello; harpsichord/piano.
Commissioned by the Musica Antiqua Soloists and first performed by Catherine James (soprano), Patricia Bird (recorder), Jean Gubbins (viol da Gamba) and David Walters (harpsichord) in St Columbia Church, Moseley, on March 20th 1978. These artists then performed the work in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, again in March 1978, and at Aston University Centre for the Arts in October 1978.
Subsequent performances have taken place in Birmingham Cathedral; in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham; in St.James Church, Wollaston; at Cambridge University at student recitals in Trinity and Queen's Colleges; and in the USA, notably at King's Chapel, Boston, by Paula Downes (soprano), David Trippett (harpsichord), Arielle Hansen (flute) and Elizabeth Main (cello) in October 2006, and at the MIT Chapel, Cambridge, Massachusetts by Paula Downes (soprano), David Trippett (harpsichord), Jen Bliss (recorder) and Hannah Thomas (cello) in February 2009.
In July 2000, Paula Downes with David Trippett (piano), Debbie Martin (flute) and Yvonne Parsons (cello) recorded the work for CD. To purchase this CD, click here
Paula Downes has also made a series of 4 films depicting the songs. View films
DREAM-LAND Opus 42 (1988) 20'
Poem by Edgar Allen Poe set to music for soprano voice, soprano saxophone and piano (the soprano saxophone can be substituted with clarinet in Bb or violin, for which parts are available).
Commissioned by 'Saxtet', with funds from West Midlands Arts, and first performed by Antonietta Pelosi (soprano), Nigel Wood (saxophone) and Caroline Costello (piano) in the Recital Hall of Birmingham Conservatoire on 7th December 1988. Numerous subsequent performances by different artists have taken place in Birmingham, London, other UK venues and the USA. The US premiere was given on 2nd November 2003 in New York by New York Metropolitan Opera soprano, Deborah Saverance, with Paul Cohen, saxophone, and David Maiullo, piano, in a concert entitled ‘Poe as Parlor Music’, in honour of the publication of Edgar Allan Poe - Poems and Poetics by the Library of America, produced by the New York Literary Roundtable for the New York Historical Society and presented by TimeOut New York.
‘The most striking examples of otherworldliness were in Andrew Downes’ Dream-Land (US premier), sung by Deborah Saverance with Paul Cohen on saxophone and David Maiullo on piano, and Leonard Bernstein’s Israfel… These two pieces, in their emotionally astute and beautifully sung arrangements, took Poe’s words far into the realm of the spirit.' PLYMOUTH STATE UNIVERSITY JOURNAL, FALL 2003 (Volume IV, no 2)
The first performance with violin (instead of soprano saxophone) was given by Paula Downes (soprano), Anna Downes (violin) and David Trippett (piano) on October 26th 2005 at Adams House, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. This performance can be heard at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DilUXaa-dE0 (part 1) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxX9NR8kHXs (part 2)
Soprano Soloist with Symphony Orchestra
CELTIC RHAPSODY Opus 81 (2002) 20' View Score
Three Celtic Poems: The Land Oversea, poem by unknown author from ancient Irish legend; The Meeting of the Waters by Thomas Moore; and Celtic Twilight by William Butler Yeats - set to music for Soprano Solo and Symphony Orchestra. Composed especially for Paula Downes, Anthony Bradbury and the Midland Youth Orchestra, who gave the first performance on 8th March 2003 in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham.
'That an internationally recognised composer should wish to write a work as a present for his local youth orchestra is indeed an astonishing and deeply gratifying gesture... In fact the connections between the Downes family and the MYO go back to the very beginnings of this orchestra... Frank Downes, father of Andrew.. was the inspiration behind many of the MYO's early horn sections... Frank..taught horn-playing to so many of those players covering, perhaps, the first 20 years of the orchestra's history... Then, some 4 decades later, Frank's two granddaughters Paula and Anna both became violinists in the MYO. Each has had the opportunity to be leader of the orchestra, both very much on merit, and Anna (the current leader) has also been able to make an invaluable contribution to the health and well-being of the orchestra behind the scenes... Andrew, father of Anna and Paula, has been moved to give to the orchestra still more by composing Celtic Rhapsody for Soprano and Orchestra specially for it. His Celtic Rhapsody now links three generations of the Downes family to the Midland Youth Orchestra... It will be a great honour for all involved this evening that, with Paula, the orchestra will bring its own work to life for the very first time. Andrew, on behalf of the MYO, I give you my heartfelt thanks.' - Programme tribute from Stephen Williams, Chairman of the Midland Youth Orchestra.
'Gaelic culture..., pastoralism... and fairy tales... were given an engaging
reworking in Saturday's premiere of Andrew Downes' Celtic
Rhapsody. Musically, the Celtic influence was most obvious in the high,
sustained soprano lines of the three poem settings. Written for the composer's
daughter, soloist Paula Downes, the cool beauty of
her voice projected the atmospheric phrases... true and clear against the
accompaniment. Authoritatively conducted by Anthony Bradbury, a generally
confident orchestra was at its best in the first song (a simple, eloquent cello
opening and arresting juxtapositions of lyricism with rollicking motifs) and
the third's rousing close. This was preceded by a poignant duet which skilfully
set Paula's pure timbres against the warm, moving violin playing of her sister
(and MYO leader), Anna.' - THE BIRMINGHAM POST
Performances of this work in Bremen, Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven, North Germany, were given, in March 2005, by Paula Downes and the Central England Ensemble conducted by Anthony Bradbury.
'Der Solopart der Keltische Rhapsodie...erwies sich als genau zugeschnitten. Paula Downes...führte mit klarer Stimmführung und makelloser Intonation in eine anrührende vergangene Welt der Poesie. Die sanften Melismen wurden vom Orchester mitatmend begleitet.
'The solo part of the Celtic Rhapsody...proved to be...perfectly tailor made. Paula Downes...led with clear vocal projection and immaculate intonation into a moving bygone world of poetry. The orchestra accompanied as one the gentle melismas.' NORDSEE-ZEITUNG