Sinfonia (2018)

New Music Players conducted by Nicholas Smith. The Warehouse, London 28 Sept 2018

New Music Players conducted by Nicholas Smith. The Warehouse, London 28 Sept 2018

Sinfonia (2018) for large instrumental ensemble (17) in six movements

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Sinfonia was completed between December 2017 and September 2018, driven by a long-standing interest in understanding how the acts of arranging and performing early English notated polyphonic instrumental and vocal music can stimulate new compositional methods. In particular, can late medieval/early renaissance interests in canon, rhythmic structure and plainchant productively fuse with modern classical methods in orchestration and harmony to produce music which, for an audience, meaningfully connects the expressive worlds of a historical period with the present?


Before starting work on the score, six English works from the period 1415-1611 were selected for study. Research included analyses of these scores, investigation and reflection on the meanings of texts in vocal settings, and arrangements of each composition to explore its construction and potential for timbral transformation through modern instruments and compositional aesthetics. In one case (Tallis) the arrangement was performed first in a Festival setting and this experience shaped the final 'transformed' version of this work. Each of the six works provided the starting point for a movement in Sinfonia, in which the original work revealed itself to a greater or lesser extent amidst reworkings and original layers.