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Chamber works (works for up to four players)

A music beginning - violin and piano
Soaring - oboe and piano
Autumnal Dances - clarinet and piano
Pietá - viola and piano
On the blue shore of silence - 'cello and piano
Møte (Meeting) - solo violin
A Portrait and Four Nocturnes - violin and piano
Last Dance - piano trio
Mille Fiori - four trumpets
accept these few roses - string quartet


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A music beginning duo for violin and piano - 2001

dur. 12mins
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Live recording from Philharmonic Hall, Lviv, Ukraine in October 2011 by Ostap Shutko and Miroslav Dragan.
mp3: 1st mvt: Con Fuoco - 2nd mvt: Desolato

Live recording from the Festival Campus Degli Incamminati in Modigliana August 2009 by Alberto Bologni and Giuseppe Fausto Modugno
mp3: 1st mvt: Con Fuoco - 2nd mvt: Desolato

Live recording made at the Stamford International Chamber Music Festival in August 2005 by Andrew Smith and Wayman Chin
mp3: 1st movement - Con Fuoco (5:06) 2nd movement - Desolato (7:06)

In two movements, 'A music beginning' was written in the summer of 2001, an immensely stormy period. Consequently, the first of its two movements (sharing ideas with the 'Wild Nights!' song from the cycle 'September, Just Septembers') is full of tumult, pent up energy and emotional intensity. In contrast the music has moments of dancing, but in a listless, exhausted way.

The second movement is both poignant and desolate; soaring melody is interspersed with ghostly, fleetingly nocturnal music. In many formal respects is an inversion of the 1st. It takes as its starting point a small quotation from Schumann's 'Child Falling Asleep'.

Throughout the piece, the note 'E flat' is an obsessive centre of gravity, indeed both movements end with its repeated calling, the first shouting, the second yearning. It is counterbalanced by its polar opposite, 'A', and the two combine in a recurring three-note figure. This in turn defines the outline of various scale patterns which give the piece its shifting, yet paradoxically static tonality.

The première of this work was given by Andrew Smith and Wayman Chin at the Stamford International Chamber Music Festival in August 2005. It has since been played by Alberto Bologni with Giuseppe Fausto Modugno, Litsa Tunnah with Alissa Tavdidishvili and Ostap Shutko and Miroslav Dragan.

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Soaring - oboe and piano - 2003/7 (also exists in an arrngement for oboe and string quartet)

oboe and piano version
dur. 15mins
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oboe with
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tring quartet version
dur. 11½mins
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Soaring, in an earlier version for solo oboe with Schubert Trout Quintet combination, was awarded 3rd prize in the 3rd International Ivan Spassov Competition in Bulgaria in December 2004

Soaring was awarded 1st prize in the IMRO International Competition in Ireland in February 2006

mp3s of Duo version (in 4 movements) - live recording from Arklow Festival (3 movements only) by Chris Redgate - oboe, and Mary Dullea - piano

1st movement (8:01) (2nd movement not played) 3rd movement (4:48) 4th movement (2:48)

Completed in August 2003 this marked to some extent unfinished business, starting afresh from the opening of a little piece partly written just before my long break. Initially conceived as an oboe/piano duo this was slightly expanded into a piece with a prominent oboe solo 'accompanied' by a piano quintet of the Schubert Trout line-up. However, reworking backwards, a duo version for oboe and piano was reconstructed. To add further to the complication, an additional 'scherzo' movement was added. More recently the sextet version was withdrawn in favour of a rescoring for oboe and string quartet (2007).

The piece takes its title from a line from an Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem "The music soars within the little lark, And the lark soars". The first movement finds the oboe placed very high with fluid arpeggio like figures predominating. Its central section, by contrast, is more static and restrained. The second movement scherzo reworks one of my Sappho Songs, which is brief and somewhat relentless in its agitation based around diminished triads. The third movement is very much a cantilena: expressive and emotional. The short finale is a little dance, reworking ideas from the first movement.

Scoring: oboe, violin I, violin II, viola 'cello
also: oboe and piano duo

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Autumnal Dances - duo for clarinet and piano - 2007

dur. 17mins
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1st mvt:
2nd mvt
3rd mvt.
4th mvt

Live recording (two movements only) from the Festival Campus Degli Incamminati in Modigliana August 2009 by Corrado Giuffredi and Giuseppe Fausto Modugno
mp3: 1st mvt: Semplice - 3rd mvt: Raucous

I - Semplice; II - Lilting, questing; III - Raucous; IV - Ghostly, ethereal - very slow

Written for Peter Glenville and Michael Bell, these four movements seemed to conjure elements of dance but in predominantly autumnal colours. The first is song-like, opening with a gentle pulse but becoming more impassioned. The second has a listless, irregular beat - searching almost obsessively for a sure direction amidst shifting two and three beat groups. The third is a raucous, heavy footed, 'crowing' scherzo. The last uses consonant multiphonics, but as harmony in two or three parts, never 'noise' - a ghostly, ethereal world alternating with a sort of flickering, reminiscing music. It is related to the "Winter Afternoons" song from my "September, Just September" song set.

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Pietá - duo for viola and piano - 2007

dur. 30mins
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2nd mvt
3rd mvt.
4th mvt:
5th mvt
.

I - Berceuse; II - Enigmas; III - Elegy; IV - Seven Roads; V - Reminiscence

Written for Georg Hamann of the Aron Quartet, this large scale, five movement work is an in memoriam for my parents. The inspiration was partly pictorial, in as much as the Pietá statues of Michelangelo have always been a haunting memory from a trip to Italy many years ago - perhaps especially the almost god-like, all encompassing 'knowing' on the face of Nicodemus (a self portrait of the master).

Opening with a Berceuse, that does more than rock the child to sleep; there follows a somewhat schizophrenic movement called Enigmas. This in turn is succeeded by a descendingly chromatic, yet simple Elegy; a fiery and extended, protesting 'plaint'; and a slow 'Reminiscence'.

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On the blue shore of silence - duo for 'cello and piano - 2007

dur. 23mins
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(click picture to enlarge)

Performance from Budapest (May 2008) by Orsolya Vági and Sayaka Kubota 1st mvt, 2nd mvt, 3rd mvt, 4th mvt.

Video of première by Lars Hoefs and Miriam Braga at the Rio 'Cello Festival 2007 (sound quality only modest..):
better sized: 1st mvt, 2nd mvt, 3rd mvt, 4th mvt (external site: www.dailymotion.com/videos/pseabourne/1)
small sized: 1st mvt, 2nd mvt, 3rd mvt, 4th mvt. (These use .swf format which should automatically open in your browser with both Mac and PC - if you have a problem please email me via my contact page.)


I - Allegretto; II - Bitter, harsh - tender; III - Jittery; IV - Saturated, sultry

This work was commissioned by David Chew for The Rio 'Cello Festival, Brazil in August 2007, and played there by Lars Hoefs and Miriam Braga. The work uses material from four songs to recompose afresh, rather in the manner of Mahler's Symphonic reinvestigations of various of his Knaben Wunderhorn set. The four songs chosen all refer to the sea, though it is not the central image in any of them. In the first (from September, Just Septembers) questions are posed about 'my bark' - did it fail? - reach foreign climes? - and so forth. The material is unsettled with a certain seriousness, even slightly sternly so. The second (from Sappho Songs) bitterness and longing are intertwined as the faithless lover is rebuked, with the mirror of the waters as a metaphor. Two butterflies skit in somewhat jittery manner over the sea in the third (from The Garden in the Brain) - this movement is entirely pizzicato for the 'cello. Finally the saturated, sultry atmosphere of Sappho/Renée Vivien returns (from Sappho Songs) with a dream of roses on the sea at evening.

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Møte (Meeting) - solo violin - 2010

dur. 5mins
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Click here for the performance from Vestfold Festival in Norway, June 2010 by Henning Kraggerud (broadcast on NRK Klassisk Radio)

Henning Kraggerud performing at the Munch Museum, Tønsberg
Henning Kraggerud and Peter Seabourne shake hands after the performance of his Møte
Compoers present at the première of Munch Suite
Peter Seabourne on the hill above Tønsberg

(click images above for larger versions)

This work was commissioned by the Vestfold Festival in Norway, for Henning Kraggerud. It is one of fifteen movements composed by invited composers and accompanied an exhibition of paintings by Edvard Munch in June 2010. The picture (Møte - Meeting - 1921) was assigned by the festival, but from my point of view happily so since related Munch works have already provided three score covers. Its themes of separation, self-exploration, passion and (contrarily) desolate stillness, all ring true with personal preoccupations, as does Munch's rather iconographic, symbolic, and oft-re-explored material.

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A Portrait and Four Nocturnes - violin and piano - 2010

dur. 19mins
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1. Portrait: Chopin
2. Nocturne - Moon Shadows
3. Nocturne - Nothing But Moonlight
4. Nocturne - Nightmare
5. Nocturne - Invictus

In response to a request from Elisaveta Blumina and Elizabeth Cooney, a short movement was written for a concert in the "Con Brio" series in Sligo, Ireland in March 2011. This subsequently became the first of five movements.

The starting point was the saga of Chopin's ill-fated time on Majorca with George Sand: his beloved piano was impounded and after initally blissful times, he and George Sand found themselves hunted down owing to the fact they were unmarried, which shocked the locals. So he found himself penned in at the monastry at Valldemossa.

The first movement, "Portrait: Chopin" (after the manner of Schumann's in Carnaval), is a little character sketch rather than an attempt to imitate or be referential to the composer's sound world. Here, though, it is not of "the dreamer poet", but of the storm-tossed Romantic of the Revolutionary Etude. The "Four Nocturnes" which follow are certainly not at all Chopin-like - I never wanted to write a Mozartiana. They are by turns shadowy, poignantly lyrical, nightmarish, and finally valedictory (the poem "Invictus" by W.E. Henley seemed to capture the mood).

This piece contains no pastiche, and references to the composer's style are not to the fore, though perhaps some of his figurations are already absorbed into my vocabulary, most notably the "turn".

This is not a commission and can be performed freely before the Sligo event.

1. Portrait: Chopin
2. Nocturne - Moon Shadows
3. Nocturne - Nothing But Moonlight
4. Nocturne - Nightmare
5. Nocturne - Invictus

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Last Dance - Piano Trio - 2010

dur. 7mins
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This short piano trio was written for Rebecca Wiles, David Larkin and Nancy Redman for a concert at the Guildhall School of Music in July 2010. It is, as Diaghilev famously said of Ravel's "La Valse", a picture of dancing rather than a dance itself; in this case possibly with something of the feel of a late night café, 'after everyone else has left 'pas-des-deux'. It is essentially a lyrical singing piece, with passionate movement. The two string instruments often play in octaves, and there is a fullness of scoring throughout. In time it may be expanded upon into a full length work - many of my pieces have begun this way.

(please click on images for larger size)

This work has also been given in 2011 by Contemporary Consort at the King's Lynn Festival, and by Olga and Ostap Shutko with Miroslav Dragan at the Contrasts Festival in Lviv, Ukraine (where it was played in an all Seabourne concert at the Philharmonic Hall including A Portrait and Four Nocturnes, A music beginning, and On the blue shore of silence).

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Mille Fiori - fanfare for four trumpets - 2011

dur. 45 secs
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The Spalding Flower Parade commissioned this short opening fanfare to be played at the 2011 event in April. My ebullient little piece borrows its title from the famous Italian glassware technique. Spalding's world famous parade (an English "Rio"!) is indeed a thousand flowers (if not more!), and its exuberance seemed to call for similarly sparkling, virtuosic music.


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accept these few roses... - string quartet

dur. 10mins
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violin 1, violin 2, viola, 'cello

A recording of this work will appear here shortly, played by the Coull Quartet

This single movement string quartet was inspired by the infamous love letters sent by Leos Janacek to Kamila Stosslova, with the very first line of his first letter providing the words of my title. Cast in a single span, the quartet is in the manner of an 'introduction and allegro', opening with yearning slow music, which leads to a stronger, agitated section. This returns after a gentler meditative slower interlude. The writing mixes the full bloodedly passionate with the listless. Though complete in itself, it is yet possible that this movement may be joined by others in time. The Coull Quartet kindly adopted this work at a semi-complete stage as a commission and programmed it as part of two all-Czech recitals at Warwick Arts Centre and Stamford Arts Centre in December 2011.

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String quintet (2vln, vla, 2vc) in progress - première in Mainz, April 2012. This is a commission from Douglas Gowan of Norfolk Concerts.


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