Choral and Songs


CANTICLES OF THE VIRGIN MARY
1965

SSA and piano. 9'. 15th century English carols edited by the composer.

Commissioned by I R Krish, J R W Ruddick and A E Futty for the Farnham Festival. First performance by Farnham Girl's Grammar School 19 May 1965 in a version accompanied by flute, oboe, clarinet and cello.

Bodleian Library holds a manuscript of an optional harp part, edited by David Watkins.

1: Queen of Heaven
2: Adam Lay Ybounden
3: Mary, Mother Come and See
4: O Queen of Heaven

Also performed by students at Digby Stuart College, Roehampton, 12 December 1965


CARMINA AMORIS
1998

Len Vorster and Michael Smallwood

Five songs for tenor and piano. 8'. Originally for baritone. First performance in this version by Michael Smallwood and Len Vorster, Melbourne, Australia, 6 February 1999.

Lyrics by Greek and Roman poets in translations by Percy Shelley, Hon J Lamb, John Addington Symonds and Edward Carpenter.

1: Invocation (Anacreon)
2: Prayer (Catullus)
3: Vow (Catullus)
4: Elegy (Plato)
5: Epitaph (anon)

COMPOSER'S NOTE

" Though logic suggests that in writing a music work (even one with several movements) you should start at the beginning and move steadily to the last note, this is not necessarily what happens in practice.

In the case of Carmina Amoris it seems that I started in the middle and only gradually worked my way to a convincing overall shape. My diaries tell me that the words of what are now the third and fourth songs caught my fancy in 1975. I set them to music with no intention of making a cycle and it was only gradually, over the next three or four years that I added songs two and five and realised that I was actually telling a kind of story.

Even so it was not until 1979 that I decided that some sort of introduction was needed and therefore added the Invocation. So the whole cycle came about in a very protracted topsy-turvy way, and not as an immediate response to a sudden emotional trauma. The cycle is not therefore autobiographical, though, like everyone else, I have certainly felt at least some of the emotions it charts.

In its first incarnation the cycle was designed for baritone. The present version was made in 1998 for the Australian tenor Michael Smallwood and first performed by him. I think that may be the end of the story, though being an inveterate tinkerer with my own music, one can never be quite sure! "


CAROL FOR THE CAMPBELLS, A
1987

MS only. Words by Christina Rossetti.


CHARMS AND CEREMONIES
1969

Unison voices S(S)A and piano. Words by Robert Herrick.

Commissioned for and first performed by the Downs School, Malvern 12 July 1969 under the direction of John Melvin.

1: Invocation
2: First Charm
3: Second Charm
4: Spring Ceremony
5: The Peter Penny
6: Christmas Ceremony
7: Third Charm
8: Fourth Charm
9: Benediction

COMPOSER'S NOTE

The original intention in writing Charms and Ceremonies was to provide a work that would involve a small group of singers, capable of tackling music in parts, and a larger body with time and talent only for unison singing. The four Charms therefore make greater demands than the five Ceremonies.

Ideally then a division into chorus and semi-chorus should be made when performing this work, though this division is by no means essential. A further change of texture could be effected by giving The Peter Penny to a soloist.

The piano accompaniment should always be played in an "orchestral" manner. For example, certain figures in the Invocation and Benediction may suggest the sound of trumpets while the rumbling basses of the First Charm and the Christmas Ceremony can, by judicious use of the sustaining pedal, be made the equivalent of the blurred shimmer of cellos.


CHIME OF CAROLS, A
1993

SSA piano. 4'40". Words by Christina Rossetti.

For West Kent Federation of WIs in celebration of their 75th anniversary. First performance 20 November 1993.

1: Lo! New-born Jesus
2: Love Came Down at Christmas
3: The shepherds had an angel


CHORAL CANTATA, A
1991

Southport Bach Society. Words from Psalm 150, Richard Edwards, Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady.


COME O COME IN PIOUS LAYS
1982

Festival anthem for SATB and organ. 3'. Words by George Wither (1588-1667).

Commissioned by Peter Davies of the Monmouth Diocesan Choral Association, for their diamond jubilee celebration. First performance 10 July 1982, Tintern Abbey.


CONSECRATION HYMN
1961

MS only.


DAY'S ALARM, THE
1991

Five songs for baritone and piano. 10'. Words by Paul Dehn.

Commissioned by Port Fairy Spring Festival, Australia. Completed 18 May 1991. First performance 13 October 1991.

1: Minute hand and moon and mind
2: Look to my lover, lonely one
3: Swing low, sweet sun
4: By night I coin the shilling star
5: In boyhood, as was fitting


DREAM CANTATA, A
1990

MS only. aka Once in a Dream.


EXILE
date ?

MS only. Voice and piano. Words by Walter de la Mare.


FAIR LADY'S MANTLE

Song. MS only. Words by Ivor Gurney.


FIVE EPITAPHS
1970

SSA unaccompanied. 5'30". Words by Robert Herrick. "From an imaginary graveyard". Commissioned by Craigie College of Education, Ayr. First performance 5 February 1970, conducted by Jim Clark. "For Jim, Ann and Gregor".

1: Upon an old man, a residentiary
2: Upon a wife that died mad with with jealousy
3: Upon a maid that died the day she was married
4: Upon a child
5: Upon himself being buried


FIVE SONGS

MS only.


FIVE SONGS FOR TENOR AND STRINGS

?


FIVE SONGS OF LOVE
1979

MS only.


FIVE SONGS OF PRAISE
1999

SATB and piano. Commissioned and published by Fareham Philharmonic Choir. First performance 12 December 1999 in celebration of their centenary.

1: Invocation (Thomas Flatman)
2: Meditation (Richard Edwards)
3: Scherzo (Thomas Campion)
4: Soliloquy (John Milton)
5: Salutation (Nahum Tate, Nicholas Brady)

Private recording details here .


FIVE SPIRITUAL SONGS
1995

SATB unaccompanied. 9'. Words by George Herbert. Commissioned by Portsmouth Festival Choir, conductor Robert D'Cruze, in celebration of its 25th anniversary. First performance in Portsmouth Cathedral, 22 June 1996.

1: Antiphon
2: The pulley
3: Vertue
4: The call
5: Exultation


FLOWER SONGS
1973

S(S)A and string orchestra or piano. 14'. Words by Robert Herrick. Commissioned by Hampshire Federation of Women's Institutes, with financial assistance from the Southern Arts Association.

First performance 23 May 1974.

1: Welcome the spring
2: How violets came blue
3: To primroses filled with morning dew
4: How lilies came white
5: The funeral rites of the rose
6: How the wallflower came first
7: To meadows

COMPOSER'S NOTE: This should be regarded as a work for two-part choir (SA). The third part (Soprano II) can be derived from a sensible division of the other two.


FOUR ANTHEMS
1960s

MS only, no. 2 missing


GENESIS
1987

SATB unaccompanied. 6'. Words by Geoffrey Hill. From the unrevised text of For the Fallen (1959).

Commissioned by St Peter's Singers, conductor Simon Lindley. First performance 28 June 1987 in Leeds Parish Church.


GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
date ?

MS only.


HAD I HEAVEN'S EMBROIDERED CLOTHES
date ?

Song. MS only. Words by Ivor Gurney.


IT IS A GOOD THING TO GIVE THANKS
1974

Anthem, SATB & organ.

From Psalm 92, vv 1-4. Commissioned by Royal School of Church Music and published by them in Five Anthems for Today (1974).


JAZZ TESTAMENT
1987

Hymn, unison voices and piano.

Words by William Cowper and A C Ainger. Designed to serve as introduction, interludes and epilogue to the composer's bible-based cantatas.


LAUDATE SPIRITUALE
1986

A.k.a. Five Spiritual Songs. MS only.


LET ALL THE WORLD
1961

Antiphon. MS only, words by George Herbert.


LOVE CAME DOWN AT CHRISTMAS
1990

For Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, W H Davies evening.


LOVER'S GARLAND, A
1968

Song cycle. MS only.


MARY MOTHER COME AND SEE

Farnham Youth Choir.


MERCILES BEAUTE
1980

Three rondels for SATB unaccompanied. 5'. Modern paraphrase by the composer from Chaucer. For Garrett O'Brien and the Exultate Singers.

1: Captivity
2: Rejection
3: Escape

COMPOSER'S NOTE: The three rondels were composed to Chaucer's original text and although I would prefer them to be sung to it if possible, I have provided a modern paraphrase (not a literal translation) for the benefit of those who feel daunted by the problems of pronouncing Chaucer's English.


MISSA BREVIS
1966

SSA and organ. 12'. Dedicated to Lennox and Freda Berkeley.

Commissioned for performance at the Farnham Festival by members and parents of the Farnham Girls Choir, conductor Mary Joynes.

1: Kyrie
2: Gloria
3: Sanctus
4: Benedictus
5: Agnus Dei

COMPOSER'S NOTE: The organ part can if necessary be played effectively on the piano. An arrangement for small string orchestra is also available.

Lennox Berkeley, the co-dedicatee, responded effusively on receiving an ms score in July 1966.

"I'm greatly pleased with the Mass - it's skilfully written for the voices and should be fairly easy to sing. I like the Agnus Dei particularly - it has a lot of feeling. I thought at first that the rather sudden plunge into F minor (top of p 14) might be a bit out of style but on reading it again I think it's right - its unexpectedness adds a feeling of poignancy that is very apt. Freda and I are happy and proud that it should be dedicated to us."

In 1976 Thomas Armstrong, one of Michael's tutors at Oxford and formerly Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, wrote an appreciative note:

"I've just been listening to an excellent performance of your Missa Brevis. I liked it very much and appreciate the sense of choral effect that you clearly have - and such a well-judged instrumental part."


MRS BEETON'S BOOK
1983

A music-hall guide to Victorian living. Narrator, SSA and piano. 28'.

Commissioned by the Petersfield Music Festival with assistance from Southern Arts for performance on 23 March 1984 by the Ladies Choirs.

Narrator: Ruth Firth
Piano Duet: Kenneth Barclay & David Mackie
Conductor: Michael Hurd

The narrator's part is to be found in the first edition (1861) of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, one of the first and certainly the most famous of many tomes on how to cook, manage servants and the domestic working day.

Michael Hurd's delight in all things Victorian finds a natural outlet in this world, resulting in perhaps the only choral work which includes a detailed recipe for "a useful soup".


MUSICK'S EMPIRE
1978

A secular anthem.


MUSIC'S PRAISE
1968

Serenade for SATB and string orchestra. 20'.

Commissioned by the Stroud Festival and first performed by the Festival Choir with the Orchestra da Camera conducted by Tony Hewitt-Jones 30 October 1968.

1: Descend, ye Nine (Alexander Pope)
2: When whispering strains (William Strode)
3: Orpheus with his lute (William Shakespeare)
4: To music, to calm his fever (Robert Herrick)


NIGHT SONGS OF EDWARD THOMAS
1990

SATB unaccompanied. 22'. Commissioned by Norman Morris and The Reading Phoenix Choir with the assistance of funds from Southern Arts.

First performance at Newbury 27 April 1991.

1: Will you come ? Will you ride so late at my side ?
2: The sun set, the sea was like a mirror
3: Under the afternoon sunset sky
4: Out in the dark over the snow
5: Dark is the forest and deep
6: I have come to the borders of sleep
7: Out of the wood of thoughts
8: Rise up and as the trumpets blowing

COMPOSER'S NOTE: It is essential to study the poems first as poems in order to achieve an effective interpretation of the music - particularly in terms of the phrasing.

These delicate, heartfelt settings of Edward Thomas, that elusive poet of time and nature, contain enlightening examples of the composer's rhythmic technique in word-setting.

For example, song 2, "The sun set", features consecutive bars in 4/4, 3/4, 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4 so as to let the words lead the music.

The simplicity of setting 6, "I have come to the borders of sleep", is extremely effective.


NIGHT SWANS, THE
1952

Ten songs for tenor and piano. Words by Walter de la Mare.

MS only, Bodleian Library.

The Night Swans
The Islands of Being
Bread and Cherries
Song of the Soldiers
Water Maiden's Song
Someone
Old Shellover
The Horseman
The Huntsmen
Night Song


O COME LET US SING UNTO THE LORD
1972

Anthem for SATB and organ. 3'. Psalm 95 vv1-7.

For Garrett O'Brien and the Exultate Singers.


O SAVING VICTIM
1966

Anthem for SATB and organ. 4'. Words by Thomas Aquinas, translated by J M Neale.

Commissioned by East Grinstead Parish Church for the occasion to mark the centenary of the death of John Mason Neale DD, 24 July 1966.


ONCE IN A DREAM
1985

Upper voices and piano. 8'. Words by Christina Rossetti

For Angela Dugdale and Glaven Ladies Choir, Norfolk. First performance April 1985.


OUT OF THE DEEP

MS only. Psalm 130.


PARADISE CANTATA, A
1984

MS only, sketch.


PARLEY OF OWLS, A
1987

SATB unaccompanied. 6'. Words anon, Anthony Rye and Tennyson.

Commissioned by Beccles Music Festival, first performance 28 March 1987.

1: Sweet Suffolk owl, so trimly dight (anon 17 c)
2: This is the old immortal bird (Rye)
3: When cats run home (Tennyson)


PHOENIX AND THE TURTLE, THE
1974

Mezzo soprano solo, SATB, timpani (2) and string orchestra. 13'.

Words by William Shakespeare.

Commissioned by the Canterbury Singers with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain. First performance 6 June 1974 at the Chapter House, Canterbury Cathedral. Soloist Elizabeth Stutchbury, conductor Anthony Stutchbury.


PRAISE YE THE LORD
1966

Anthem for SATB and organ. 3'. Psalm 148 vv1-5.

Commissioned for the Choir of St Lawrence, Alton, Hampshire, to celebrate the rebuilding of the organ, October 1966.


REJOICE WITH US
1987

Anthem, SATB organ. 3'. Words by Rev Dr F Pratt Green.

Commissioned by Holy Trinity Church, Northwood for performance on Trinity Sunday 1987.


RIDE BY NIGHT, THE
date ?

MS only. From de la Mare.


SECULAR ANTHEM, A
1978/1987/1997

Anthem for SATB and organ. 8'. Words from George Herbert and Andrew Marvell.

A revised and substantially rewritten version of a work for chorus and orchestra commissioned by the Hastings Philharmonic Choir and first performed on 4 November 1978.

This new version was first performed in Leeds by the St Peter's Singers, conductor Simon Lindley, on 28 June 1987. Additional minor revisions were made in 1997 when preparing the work for publication.


SHEPHERD'S CALENDAR
1975

Choral symphony for baritone solo, chorus and orchestra. 30'. Words from John Clare.

Commissioned by the Southampton Choral Society with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain.

First performance by Michael Rippon and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Derek Goodger 10 October 1975 at the Guildhall, Southampton.

An illuminating note on the MS score records "Scoring, April 21st-24th, 9.00 am to 11.45, mornings and some evenings."

A more considered note on the work can be found here.

This work has now received its world premiere recording. Details here.


SHORE LEAVE
1967

Five songs for baritone and strings. 10'. Words by Charles Causley.

First performances were given by John Barrow with the Kathleen Merritt Orchestra on 20 May 1967 and (with piano) at the Cheltenham Festival 19 July 1967.

Performed by Roderick Williams at Gloucester Three Choirs Festival 19 August 1998, accompanied by the Cheltenham Chamber Orchestra conducted by Denise Ham.

The Bodleian Library has a manuscript for a revised verson for string quartet, dated May 1998.

1: Convoy
2: Elizabethan Sailor's Song
3: Shore Leave
4: Able Seaman Hodge Remembers Ceylon
5: Sailor's Carol

As a self-confessed 'tinkerer' with his work, with a painstaking attention to detail, and his own severest critic, it is interesting to note the composer's advice to Roderick Williams before the Three Choirs performance:

" It seems that you have been lumbered with my Shore Leave cycle at the Festival on August 19th. Please do not take much notice of the metronome marks, as they all seems to be on the slow side and, if taken literally, will make the music sound too stodgy. It needs to flow.

Heaven knows why I thought this way in 1968 - a faulty metronome or sheer stupidity ... There are a couple of awkward corners that need watching. For example, p2, bar 12, the leap to C against the B flats in the harmony at 'the five pointed dog star' and p10, bars 1-5 ... "

Details of the world premiere recording by Roderick Williams with the BBC Concert Orchestra under Martin Yates here.


SONG FOR ST CECILIA, A
1967

For SATB and orchestra. 15'. Words by John Dryden.

Commissioned for performance at the Havant and District Schools' Music Festival.

" From harmony, from heav'nly harmony ... "

Orchestration: 2121/2200/timp/perc/str (2121/2311/timp/2 perc/piano)


SONG OF ST FRANCIS, A
1983

Anthem for unaccompanied SSA, alto solo. 4'.

Commissioned by Walthamstow Hall, Sevenoaks, for Miss Elfreda Davies on the occasion of her retirement, 12 November 1983.

Lord, make me an Instrument of Thy Peace

Details of a recording by Toronto Children's Chorus here.


SONGS FROM THE SEA
1974/1985

For unaccompanied upper voices. 9'

Music by Aulis Sallinen, Opus 33 (1974), paraphrased from the Finnish by Michael Hurd (1985).

1: Sea Prayer
2: Shipshape
3: Sea Danger
4: Ballad


STRENGTHEN FOR SERVICE LORD
1999

Anthem for SA and organ.

Words Syrian 4th century, translated by C W Humphries and Percy Dearmer

"For Martin Schellenberg and the Choir of St Katharine's Church, Southbourne on Sea and in memory of S D W"

MS only


TEN SONGS WITH PIANO
1948-49

MS in Bodleian Library only.

a) Proud Maisie (Walter Scott) Gloucester, 1948
b) The Widow Bird (Percy Bysshe Shelley) Gloucester, 1948
c) The Sick Rose (William Blake) Gloucester, 1948
d) Cradle Song (Padraig Colum) Gloucester, 1948
e) Poor Man's Song (Paul Dehn) Vienna, 1949
f) Song for a Sleeper (Paul Dehn) Vienna, 1949
g) Song for a Thief (Paul Dehn) Vienna, 1949
h) Bread and Cherries (Walter de la Mare) Gloucester, 1949
i) The Horseman (Walter de la Mare) Gloucester, 1949
j) The Huntsmen (Walter de la Mare) Gloucester, 1949


THIS DAY TO MAN
1974

Six Hymns for the Nativity. SATB and orchestra. 21'.

Commissioned by the Chichester Singers. First performance 14 December 1974, conductor Anne Lawrence.

Orchestration 2 flutes, oboe, 2 clarinets Bb, bassoon, strings.

1: This day to man (Francis Kindlemarsh)
2: As I in hoary winter's night (Robert Southwell)
3: All this night shrill chanticleer (William Austin)
4: Fairest of the morning lights appear (Thomas Pestel)
5: Sweet baby, sleep (George Wither)
6: Come to your heav'n (Robert Southwell)

An early ms, dated 1974, adds a seventh hymn, Come, O come in pious lays, but in an entirely different setting to the composer's 1982 published version for Monmouth. The piece represents the composer's penchant for setting the words of relatively obscure poets, in this case from the 16th and 17th centuries.

"Chichester Cathedral was once again filled with a most appreciative audience on Saturday 7 December (1979) when the Chichester Singers mounted the first concert of a new season.

Michael Hurd's "This Day to Man", commissioned by the Singers five years ago, was given a most moving treatment. Complex rhythms and harmonies presented no unsolved problems.

This was a spiritually moving performance and the composer, in the audience, must have been well pleased."

Chichester Observer, 14 December 1979.


THREE SAINTS IN ONE
1984

SSA piano and flute (optional). 10'.

Commissioned by St Swithun's School, Winchester, for their centenary. First performance 4 May 1984, conducted by Michael Strand.

The interludes for the basis of the composer's Three Piece Suite for recorder and piano (details here).

COMPOSER'S NOTE: Although the flute is preferable, any suitable instrument may be used for the Interludes. In cases of dire emergency, the Interludes may be ommitted.

1: Saint Valentine's Day (Anthony Rye)
2: Spring Interlude
3: Saint Swithun's Day (Michael Hurd)
4: Autumn Interlude
5: St Cecilia's Day (Joseph Addison)


THREE SONGS OF ROBERT GRAVES
1995

Baritone and piano. 8'.

MS only in Bodleian Library, dated 25th April 1995.


THREE SONGS OF W H DAVIES
1990

For voice and piano.

MS only in Bodleian Library, frustratingly incomplete.

Commissioned by Nailsworth Civic Society, Gloucestershire, for the 50th anniversary of the death of W H Davies, for performance on 28 September 1990.