I have had the pleasure of hearing the first outings of two of my compositions in recent days. Firstly Hugh Rosenbaum organised a wind quintet to play my Christmas Quintet at the Hampstead Music Club at their Christmas concert in Burgh House on 2 December. What a great evening! There was also music by Purcell, Flanders & Swann, there was audience participation, followed by mulled wine and minced pies. Then secondly I conducted Mid Sussex Sinfonia in rehearsing my Christmas Overture (the same piece, but for full orchestra - the original version). Sight reading in 5/8 can be a little tricky and they did a very good job! I came away thinking it is actually quite a good piece (!) and I must push it in 2015 to get some performances.
Finally I've just finished arranging Bach's Toccata & Fugue in D minor for orchestra. "Hasn't that been done already?" I hear you cry. Indeed it has, and most notably by Stokowski. Many years ago I used to think his version was vulgar, showing little appreciation for Bach. I've now totally changed my mind! Stokowski was, after all, an organist himself and as such he played a lot of Bach: he loved Bach! And his transcriptions of Bach (there are many of them) are his way of trying to share his love of Bach with a wider audience. Anyhow, I decided to make my own arrangement partly because it's not so easy to get hold of Stokowski's transcriptions, also because he often uses a very large orchestra which I would only rarely have at my disposal, and even because it's a great way to learn more about instruments etc! My arrangement will get a first performance by the Angel Orchestra in its concert in St Silas Church, Risinghill Street, London N1 9UL on 29 March 2015.