Composition is something that I have always enjoyed. Much of my work is liturgical – that is, compositions designed to enhance Christian worship, mostly at St Stephen’s Church in Canterbury, but also in Salisbury, Coventry, Portsmouth and Canterbury Cathedrals over the last few years. Consequently, it is mostly for choir, sometimes with organ accompaniment, other times unaccompanied. Sadly I don’t get enough time to write a vast amount, but usually have a few things on the go which you can read about on the 'In preparation' pages.
On this site you’ll find a selection of my compositions which are available to download or order, many of which are free or available at pretty much cost price. I don’t compose music to make money – most of my pieces were composed for particular services or occasions; I simply hope that others will enjoy singing or listening to it, and that their worship will be enhanced through the use of it.
A little about me
What people have said about my compositions and workshops...
My latest work is a new setting of the Passion according to St John, composed for liturgical use with plainsong inspired chants and choral responses for SATB. It will be performed for the first time on Good Friday at St Stephen’s Church, Canterbury, and available to purchase from my website after this.
It has been confirmed that the first performance of my setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis will be performed in Salisbury Cathedral at Evensong on Wednesday 5th April 2017. A fauxbourdon setting is one in which the choir sing plainsong verses, and some verses that are harmonised for full choir – in my setting Read more about Salisbury Fauxbourdons first performance[…]
With Lent, Holy Week and Easter not that far away (at least, not for those of us planning music!), visitors to my website might be interested in two short and simple pieces that are available freely here: Were you there? Suitable for use during Passiontide (the period immediately before Easter, when Christians focus on the Read more about Seasonal Music[…]
On 23 May, my latest composition was premièred by the choristers of Canterbury Cathedral at a special service of Baptism in the Cathedral Crypt. A video of the performance and a sample score is available to view by clicking here. Printed scores are available to purchase too.
Well, after a few final tweaks to notes and typesetting, today I passed the completed scores on to David Flood, Organist and Master of the Choristers at Canterbury Cathedral, so that he could begin to work on the piece with the Trebles. To be honest, I don’t think it will take them very long to Read more about Submitted![…]
In my last post, you could hopefully see from the image that I had finished the melody and had mapped out the harmony of the accompanying, but hadn’t got particularly far with the accompaniment patters. One restriction on the accompaniment for the first performance is that, because the service is taking place in the Eastern Read more about Final draft[…]
OK, I’ll confess, I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to typesetting. I like to make my score look as professional as possible. I also like to get some of the music into Sibelius (my preferred choice of score writing package at the moment) and then continue to work in pencil on the Read more about First stages in typesetting[…]
It’s been a little while since I last posted an update on the composition I’m working on; as a church musician, Easter does take over any spare time that I might have had (we had 11 services and rehearsals between Palm Sunday and Easter Day!). However, work has been progressing on the composition, and at Read more about Word Setting and Melody Writing[…]
Right from the start, the final performance of the composition is in my mind: who will be performing it? how many parts? will there be accompaniment? what is the performance venue like? etc. Obviously many of these will change in subsequent performances (we all hope that there will be more than one performance of our Read more about Composing and developing motifs[…]
Over the next few weeks, I shall be working on a composition for a friend of mine whose son is being Baptised in Canterbury Cathedral in a couple of months time. I asked him for a text that he felt would be suitable for the occasion, and he came back with three possibilities, from which Read more about Starting with the text[…]
Famous for its horse racing, on 14 February 2015, Chantilly will be the venue for a Choral Singing Day. I will be leading choristers from across northern France in a workshop of music from the English choral tradition, culminating in a service of Choral Evensong in St Peter’s Church. More details, including the music being Read more about Choral Day in France[…]
On Saturday 25th October 2014, I directed be directing a ‘Come and Sing’ rehearsal and performance of Fauré’s Requiem in St Mary’s Church, Banbury. The concert was a fundraising event for the Katherine House Hospice, where my mother was cared for in the weeks before she passed away – Fauré’s Requiem was one of her Read more about Fauré’s Requiem for Katherine House Hospice[…]
On Tuesday 31st December, my Christmas anthem ‘Lullay, mine liking’ is being performed for the first time in London, at Evensong in Westminster Abbey. This follows a performance in Canterbury at the Carol Service in St Stephen’s Church on Sunday 22nd December. Anyone is welcome to attend either event and it would be lovely to Read more about London Première of Lullay mine liking[…]
On Thursday 12th December at 7.30pm, my setting of O Magnum Mysterium is being sung in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge as part of ‘Christmas at the Fitzwilliam with Granta Chorale’ in Gallery 3. Tickets: £17.50 (£14.50 concessions and Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum), including interval glass of wine. Available from City Centre Box Office, Wheeler Read more about O Magnum Mysterium in Cambridge[…]
On Saturday 20th July I am accompanying a workshop and performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria at St Mary’s Church, Chartham, Kent. The day is being led by Emily Temmel, and features singers from St Mary’s Church Choir, local schools, and friends. Any money raised on the day is being split between St Mary’s Church and the Read more about Vivaldi ‘Gloria’ for the Pilgrim’s Hospice[…]
On Saturday 20th April I’m presenting a short lecture at Canterbury Christ Church University entitled Music in a Liturgical Parish Church which will look at the role that music plays at St Stephen’s Church, Canterbury and how it becomes a way of reaching out to the local community. My lecture is part of a one day conference Read more about Music in a Liturgical Parish Church[…]
Visitors to my website might be interested in two short and simple pieces that are available freely here: Were you there? Suitable for use during Passiontide (the period immediately before Easter, when Christians focus on the Crucifixion of Jesus), it is an arrangement of the American Spiritual melody for 2 voices, and adaptable for use Read more about Music for Passiontide and Easter[…]
On Saturday 16th March, I am conducting a ‘Bring and Sing’ workshop and performance of John Stainer’s Passiontide Oratorio “The Crucifixion”. It’s taking place in Holy Trinity Church, Broadstairs between 2 and 6pm and anyone is welcome, whether a member of an RSCM affiliated choir or not. For more details, click on the image to Read more about ‘Bring and Sing’ Stainer’s Crucifixion[…]
St Stephen’s Church Choir, Canterbury, under Stephen’s direction, have recorded a carol for broadcast on BBC South East Today. It will go out on Friday 21st December on BBC1 between 6.30 and 7.00pm in the South East region. For more information about St Stephen’s Choir, please visit their website. The Choir will be singing for Read more about Recording for BBC South East Today[…]
On Thursday 25th October 2012, my composition Hail, gladdening light will be performed as the anthem at Evensong in Canterbury Cathedral, sung by the choir of St Stephen’s Church, Canterbury. A recording of the performance will be available here shortly afterwards. To purchase copies of Hail, gladdening light, please order online.
On Saturday 4th August, my latest composition Hail, gladdening light will be premièred in Portsmouth Cathedral during Choral Evensong. The service begins at 5pm and anyone is welcome to join the congregation. If you do come to hear my piece, please come and speak to me afterwards – I look forward to meeting some of Read more about New composition to be premièred in Portsmouth Cathedral[…]
Last Saturday (12th May) I had the pleasure of directing the North-West Europe RSCM (Royal School of Church Music) Choir Festival. Held in Brussels, Belgium, participants travelled from far and wide, including Holland, Luxembourg, and Germany, as well as those from cities in Belgium and, of course, me from the UK! The music was taken Read more about North-West Europe RSCM Choir Festival[…]
There is now a video of Teach me, O Lord available here. It was recorded during Evensong in Canterbury Cathedral on Thursday 29th March when it was performed by the choir of St Stephen’s Church, Canterbury who are regularly asked to deputise for the Cathedral Choir.
UPDATE: You can see and hear the performance on their video stream here – helpfully it’s the first 2 minutes so easy to find! On 2nd May, my anthem Spiritus Domine super me, which was written several years ago for the induction of the present Rector of St Stephen’s Church, Canterbury, will be sung at Read more about American Première[…]
Over the coming weeks there are two performances of my anthem ‘Teach me, O Lord’. The first is in Canterbury Cathedral on Thursday 29th March, sung by the Choir of St Stephen’s Church, Canterbury as the anthem during Choral Evensong. The service begins at 5.30pm and anyone wishing to attend is advised to be seating Read more about Two forthcoming performances[…]
St Stephen’s Church Choir will be performing an original composition by Stephen Barker when they sing in Salisbury Cathedral in April. The anthem – Teach me, O Lord – sets selected verses from Psalm 119 as appointed for the Offertory on the Fifth Sunday of Lent interspersed with a refrain and concluding with a prayer from Read more about Composition Première in Salisbury Cathedral[…]