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Choral/Vocal Works

Ecce Ancilla Domini

SATB Choir - John Heath - 2019

This is an anthem with a simple texture and melody that follows the gradual tension of the text (which is also written by the composer) to tell the story of the annunciation. It was first performed in Durham Cathedral in December 2019.

Maria Walks Amid the Thorn

SATB choir - John Heath - 2018

An intriguing setting of this carol, Maria Walks Amid the Thorn combines plainchant-like lines and bitonal inflections in an eminently singable way.

Second Communion Service

SAB and cantor - John Heath - 2018

A three-part setting of the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Benedictus and Agnus Dei that is both charming, harmonically interesting and achievable for most choirs. A perfect piece for choirs looking for new liturgical repertoire.

Blessing

SAB choir - John Heath - 2017

A simple, gentle and lilting setting of the Gaelic  "May the road rise up to meet you..." with an optional interlude of prayer or blessing by a cantor.

Gaudete!

SATB choir - John Heath - 2017

A punchy, rhythmically driven arrangement of this classic carol.

Alleluia! A new work is come on hand

SATBB Choir - John Heath - 2016

A haunting Christmas anthem full of plainsong-like melody and unexpected harmonic twists.

Fall, Leaves, Fall

SATTBB choir/sextet - John Heath - 2016

An expressive and harmonically explorative partsong setting of Emily Brontë's poem of the same name. This is piece well suited to a strong choir or sextet.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

SATB Choir - John Heath - 2015

A new setting of T. A. Lacey's translation of the hymn Veni, Veni, Emmanuel. This setting alludes to the medieval origins of the text, whilst using new harmonic directions to create something distinctive and refined. The piece is a simple, strophic setting, although suggestions are included for variation, including a descant to go with the full harmony of the chorus.

A Clear Midnight

SATB Choir and soloist - John Heath - 2015

This composition is a setting of two poems by Walt Whitman: A Clear Midnight and The Last Invocation. Both contemplate the end and the freedom of the soul after the departure of the mundane. The piece passes freely through tonalities, seemingly restless until, at the end, conclusion is found in the restful contemplation of a half-close. Shortlisted for the JAM Call for Scores 2014.

Lament

Mezzo Soprano and cello quartet - Matthew Warren - 2015

This piece is based on an earlier draft for male-voices and mezzo soprano and was revised for the Durham University Orchestral Society. It's serialist composition belies the octatonic and heavily melodic feel of the vocal line. The cellos play the role of drone, inflecting the part with microtonal tremolos, whilst the singer's mournful line floats overhead until all are finally extinguished.

Christmas Eve at Sea

SATB Choir - John Heath - 2015

A Christmas anthem, setting  John Masefield's poem of the same name. This piece starts in the quiet of a still night at sea but grows to rouse all hands into rejoicing at the coming of Christ.

The Little Music Box

3-8 unspecified voices - Matthew Warren - 2015

The sounds of childhood nursery rhymes are a common cultural thread. This work is a set of short canons based on the texts and tunes of three of these songs; playing with the rhyming sounds in a set of constantly changing canons. The Little Music Box is an accessible piece for a small choir wanting to try something a little experimental.

First performed in Durham's Klang festival, 2015.

First Communion Service

SATB Choir and soloist - John Heath - 2015

An English mass setting written for St Mary's College Chapel Choir, Durham. This piece blends modality and octatonicism to create an atmospheric new take on an old text.

Every Time We Say Goodbye

Mezzo-soprano and piano - Matthew Warren - 2015

A song created for the Leeds Lieder Festival's Day of Song in collaboration with poet John Irving Clarke, Every Time We Say Goodbye (subtitled Play it Sam), draws on the canon of jazz 'crooner' songs to reflect on the value of well-intentioned pastiche art.

First performed in the Leeds College of Music in 2015 by Sarah Harrison and Tom Baston.

Read a review of the performance.

Hades and Persephone

ATTB quartet - Matthew Warren - 2014

Hades and Persephone is designed to be heard whilst looking at Gustav Klimpt's The Kiss and recontextualises the image in a somewhat darker light. It takes the form of a series of miniature movements, each focussing on a single colour's evocativeness - Gold; Black; Gold; Red; and Gold. 

Nova! Nova!

SATB Choir and soloists - John Heath - 2014

Nova! Nova! is a setting of the old carol of the annunciation and heavily draws upon plainchant and organum to create a feeling of the eternal.

First performed by St Mary's College Chapel Choir in Durham Cathedral, 2014.

The Coventry Carol

SATB Choir - John Heath - 2013

This is a new setting of the poignant Coventry Carol, which combines the lilting feeling of a lullaby with the emotional strain of more chromatic harmonic progressions. This piece is intended for unaccompanied choir and soprano soloist, although it has been performed with and without accompaniment.

First performed, St Oswald's Church, Durham, 2013.

Voice, music box and tape - Matthew Warren - 2013

On Still Nights

Unspecified vocal quartet - Matthew Warren - 2013

A vocal quartet, growing with microtonal inflections out of a single note into a dark and dream-like soundscape.

First performed in the Chapel of St Hild and St Bede in 2013.

Kyrie

Unspecified vocal ensemble - Matthew Warren - 2011

A piece from a planned (but never realised) mass setting, Kyrie is simple, atmospheric and easily performed. it is based on a system of aural cues that are designed to move the sound in waves through the choir, who are placed around the perimeter of the audience.

First performed in the Sage, Gateshead, 2012

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O come, O come...
A Clear Midnight
Lament
Christmas Eve at Sea
Communion Service
Every Time We Say Goodbye
Hades and Persephone
Nova! Nova!
The Coventry Carol
Jimmy
On Still Nights
Kyrie
The Little Music Box
Nova! Nova! (samples) - St Mary's College Chapel Choir
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Coventry Carol (extracts) - Grey College Choir
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Hades and Persephone (samples) - The Orlando Consort
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Every Time We Say Goodbye - Sarah Harrison and Tom Baston
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On Still Nights - Henrike Berg, David Lewis, Peter Thomson and Conrad Heald
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Choral Arrangements

As I Went Down in the River to Pray

SATB choir/quartet - John Heath - 2016

A tight and synchopated arrangement of a lively and stirring spiritual that would be very accessible for most choirs and audiences.

Be Still My Soul

SATB Choir - John Heath - 2014

A hymn setting performed on multiple occasions by the Chapel Choir of St Mary's College, Durham

Bright Morning Star

SSA Choir - John Heath - 2015

An arrangement of the well known spiritual dedicated to Beryl Whitehead, who always had time for hearing about my work.

First performed in memory of Beryl by her choir friends in 2015.

Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho

SATB Choir and soloist - John Heath - 2013

An arrangement of the well known spiritual that takes the audience on syncopated twists and turns.

First performed by Grey College Choir, Durham, in 2013.

 

This composition has since been arranged by the excellent Dave Collins for brass band. See his website for more details

 

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Be Still My Soul
Bright Morning Star
Joshua Fit the Battle
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