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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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