The basic training in music theory and harmony received as a teenager prompted an interest in composition which blossomed in later life. The majority of his works are for voice, either solo or choral.
His first worthwhile song, The Death Bed, is classically strophic but with a different twist in each verse. The Linnet Cycle started out as one song (the 4th) and when more poems featuring the linnet were encountered the cycle was completed. The duet for tenor and bass clarinet is remarkable not only for the unusual combination but also for the use of a 12-tone row in 4 recognisable triads.
The two compositions for flute (Badinage and Sensation) reached the finals of the Fluticon Composition competition. *
The complexity of the polyphonic writing for the piano in works by Dennis Hyams and Alexander Zemlinsky led to them being arranged for chamber ensembles. For his own Rhayader string chamber orchestra John arranged several miniatures; four of these are now in the library of Amsterdam Sinfonietta. **
His arrangements for symphony orchestra of two piano pieces by Chopin and and Rachmaninov have been played under the auspices of the Scarbo Piano Collective.
He has made several arrangements for the standard wind quintet (Board Reviews, A Spanish Selection, Four Romantic Gems); all are playable by talented amateurs.
A set of Shakespeare songs by Roger Quilter has been orchestrated for baritone and string orchestra and is now available from Boosey & Hawkes under the title ‘ A Pretty Ring Time’. It is intended to be a companion piece to Gerald Finzi’s ‘Let Us Garlands Bring’.
The other arrangements and all compositions are available from the author. See contact details.
“ ….am consistently impressed with your orchestration
and your feeling for instrumental color”
Jeff Hamburg, composer.
“Wat een leuke en goeie arrangementen”
Willem de Bordes, Artistic Director of Amsterdam Sinfonietta