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MARTIN BUSSEY

composer

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A BROTHER ABROAD RECORDED

In February/March 2024 Resonus Classics recorded a new CD of Martin's music at Stoller Hall, Manchester. 

Over three days baritone Marcus Farnsworth recorded the very successful A Brother Abroad, commissioned in 2021 by Pinner Music Festival, together with several of the original players: Emma Halnan, Flute and George Strivens, French Horn reprised their original roles. They were joined by Stephen Burke, Percussion. The performance was directed by Martin Bussey with librettist Anthony Pinching in attendance (and taking many of the photos!). Emma recorded her linked solo piece La Rossa, and George his, The Rites Observed. Both pieces are metamorphoses of themes from the longer work. In later sessions, soprano Alison Rose and pianist Libby Burgess recorded Martin's song cycle A Chainless Soul, which sets poems of Emily Bronte. Marcus recorded Martin's Whitman cycle Children of Adam, again with Libby. All the performers can be seen in the photos in the panel below. The producer was Adam Binks.

Click on links for more details of artists. Scores at Composers Edition

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TIMELESS FIGURE

A collaboration with photographer Laurel Turton

'A 45-minute tour de force...imaginative writing for marimba, clarinet and viola...some striking textures...the vocal line being expressive and singer-friendly yet highly wrought.' - planethugill.com, 2020

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TIMELESS FIGURE REVIVED

November 2023 saw a highly successful revival of Timeless Figure at The Brownlow Centre, Whitchurch & International Anthony Burgess Centre, Manchester. 

Over the weekend more than 80 people, many new to contemporary music theatre, enjoyed watching baritone Peter Edge brilliantly reprise the role of clockmaker Joyce that he created at the 2020 Tete-a-Tete Festiva. He was expertly and idiomatically accompanied by Dan Mawson, clarinet, Ellie Waddington, viola and Sophie Smith, marimba. against a background of commissioned, synchronised images by Laurel Turton, projected by Stephen Hyde.

more details and score at Composers Edition

Photos below

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NEW PIANO PIECES!

More music from Shocklach, Martin's home for the past 8 years on the borders of Cheshire & Wales. Or rather, music inspired by trips and visits.

Three new piano pieces are available from September 1 from Composers Edition.

Click on the titles to see sample scores and product notes.

Then click in the panels below and head to see Martin introduce and play the works on YouTube.

Christopher and Mary Dove

Cottage at East Bergholt

Stirling Statues

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LA ROSSA

FOR SOLO FLUTE


Premiered JUNE 14 2023 by

Emma Halnan

As part of 

Pinner Music Festival

La Rossa is a metamorphosis of themes from A Brother Abroad, a work for Baritone and three instruments, commissioned from Martin Bussey by Pinner Music Festival and first performed in June 2021. 

The work explores themes from the longer work which is focused on the life of the 14th century Bishop Peter of Corbavia. It centres on themes associated with Bishop Peter’s birthplace, Bologna, for which La Rossa is a nickname. Other themes are associated in the longer work with Peter’s spirituality and his transcending secular turmoil.

This solo work highlights many aspects of flute technique and presents diverse challenges. It received its first performance on June 14, 2023 at Pinner Music Festival, performed by Emma Halnan.

score available from Composers Edition

Below, Martin introduces Emma's performance

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MARTIN TALKS!

Yes - he does!

Martin Bussey frequently gives talks about a wide range of musical genres, composers and individual works. He presents lively, engaging and expertly informed presentations. These build on 25 years teaching at Chetham's School of Music and his long-standing connection with amateur musicians. He regularly talks about his own music, most recently to the Friends of Southwell Cathedral, presenting the musical journey behind his CD In no strange land

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MARTIN TALKS FREQUENTLY AT SOUTHWELL MUSIC FESTIVAL

2022: MARTIN TALKS ABOUT HIS OWN MUSIC AT LAKE DISTRICT SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL ALONG WITH CECILIA MCDOWALL

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MARTIN HAS RECORDED A NUMBER OF TALKS ABOUT THE MUSIC OF GERALD FINZI AVAILABLE ON HIS YOUTUBE CHANNEL HERE

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ASHES UNDER URICON

In January 2023 Martin visited the site of the Roman city of Uricon, near Wroxeter in Shropshire. The substantial remains above ground are dominated by 'The Old Work' a substantial piece of Roman wall. Together with much evidence of Roman masonry incorporated into the local buildings, the site has inspired a sequence of songs for voice and piano, currently being written. Texts include Dickens' account of the 1859 excavations, complete with concern from the local farmer for the impact on his turnips, and passages from Wilfred Owen's poem inspired by the site. More photos below:

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VISIT TO DURHAM

In November 2022 Martin worked with Durham University Chamber Choir and their conductor Matthew McCullough on music from their programme Rosa Mystica. This included Martin's The Jesse Tree and Del Nacimiento​. Photos below:

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SHROPSHIRE LASS

New work premiered AUTUMN 2022: poetry of Mary Webb

set for soprano and guitar (click on links to performances, Mary Webb & the performers)

Shropshire Lass was completed in 2021, written for the duo of Holly Teague and Michael Matthews.

Lasting around 35 minutes the work tells a story of love, loss and memory, with the Shropshire countryside a significant element as the singer traces her past love, and his loss in the 1914-18 war.


This semi-staged piece receives its first complete performances as part of the Marches Songbook project in Autumn 2022 - dates and venues below.

If you are interested in hosting a performance of Shropshire Lass click here

The next panel details Holly and Michael's performance of the first five songs in March 2022.

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SHROPSHIRE LASS LAUNCHED

Holly Teague and Michael Matthews performed the first five songs in the Whitchurch Caldecott Festival

(click on links in the panel above to explore Mary Webb & the performers)

March 19 2022 saw the first, very successful performance by Holly and Michael of the first five songs of Shropshire Lass. Martin Bussey introduced the performance, stressing the important focus on Nature in Mary Webb's poems and also her frank allusions to sexual love. The enthusiastic applause from an appreciative audience showed the high standard of the performance and bodes well for reception of the work in its full version as part of the Marches Songbook project. 

Below: Holly and Michael in the Masonic Hall, Whitchurch.

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IN DAYS LIKE THESE WIGMORE HALL

OCTOBER 22 2022

Delighted that In days like these received its latest performance at London's Wigmore Hall as part of Ludlow English Song Day on October 22. It was performed by James Atkinson, baritone and Iain Burnside, piano.

This short work sets Gerald Finzi's letter to Herbert Howells documenting the first performance of his Dies Natalis. This took place at Wigmore Hall itself. Though Finzi states that 'it wants the Cathedral, not Wigmore Hall'!

Score available from Composers Edition here.

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WHAT THE DICKENS!

New work for two actors, choir, soprano, tenor and bass solos with oboe and piano 

July 20 2022 saw the very successful premiere of this new work commissioned by the St Marylebone Festival


The work features six characters from the novels written by Dickens when he lived round the corner from St Marylebone Church, in Devonshire Terrace in the 1840s. These have been commemorated in the mural which now stands on the site of Dickens' house, including the unforgettable Scrooge, the drunken Mrs Gamp, the perpetually optimistic Wilkins Micawber, Little Nell and many others.

The work includes original settings of three poems by Christina Rossetti: Up-Hill; Cobwebs; and A Life's Parallels. 

Scores of these are available from Composers Edition.

There are also settings of W.B.Yeats, Dickens' words, and re-imaginings of music by S.S.Wesley and drinking and temperance songs of Dickens' time.


The cast included actors Ros Shelley and Alex Knox alongside the choir of St Marylebone Parish Church, Gavin Roberts, piano and Clare Hoskins, oboe.

Rehearsal photos in the next panel!

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WHAT THE DICKENS!

Below, actors Alex Knox and Ros Shelley channel their inner Micawbers (left)

Ros Shelley as Mrs Gamp celebrates the joys of drink with the choir of St Marylebone and Musical Director Gavin Roberts (right)

As a taster, listen to Martin Bussey playing Mr Dombey Seated here

The score is available from Composers Edition currently under £4!


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THE WINDHOVER

Martin Bussey's setting of Gerard Manley Hopkins' THE WINDHOVER had a very warm reception from a large audience at Ambleside Parish Church as parted of the 2022 Lake District Summer Music Festival. Acclaimed tenor ROBERT MURRAY gave an intensely committed and compelling performance with ROSA HARTLEY, Violin.

SCORE available from Composers Edition here

Photos in the panel below of Martin with the performers; and giving a pre-concert talk with fellow composer, Cecilia McDowall and Festival Director Steven Threlfall before the performance.