Orchestra

shifting mechanism (cropped) (stage) 2  1994 Dance on the Beat WCMD 1 (orchestral) cropped dark 2  Ibi and viol (concerts) cropped with text  James Hall (vocal)2  Film and text

Listed in reverse chronological order

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Michelangelo Sketches (2013)

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for symphony orchestra

2 fl; 2 ob; 2 cl; 2 bsn
4 hn; 2 tpt; 2 tbn, tba
timp, perc, hp
strings

duration: c. 11 minutes

1.  Kyrie eleison
2.  Releasing the sculpture
3.  Perspective
4.  Ascension

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The Fall of the House of Usher (2012)

for wind orchestra

music for Jean Epstein’s 1928 classic silent horror movie

picc; 2 fl; 2 ob; 3 cl; b cl; 2 a sax; t sax; b sax; 2 bsn; cbsn
3 tpt; 4 hn; 2 tbn; b tbn; 2 euph; tba
timp; 3 percussion
db

duration: c. 12 minutes

Commissioned by Ty Cerdd

Description
The Fall of the House of Usher (France 1928) is probably Jean Epstein’s best-known work in which the quality of the photography evokes comparison with the greatest masterpieces of the German cinema.For this new interpretation, Charlie Barber’s score takes as its starting point musical sketches by Debussy for an uncompleted opera – adding a further twist to the foreboding atmosphere of this classic of early cinema. 

First performance by the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Wales conducted by Sean O’Neill at Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen on 13 April 2012

13.04.12    CARMARTHEN Lyric Theatre
14.04.12    NEWPORT The Riverfront
15.04.12    NEATH Gwyn Hall

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The Transport of Time (1999)

for symphony orchestra

2 fl, 2 ob, 2 cl, 2 bsn, cbsn
4 hn, 2 tpt, 2 tbn, b tbn, tba
2 perc, timp
strings

duration: 12 minutes

Commissioned by Newport County Borough Council for their Millennium celebrations
First performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales at Newport Leisure Centre on 20 November 1999

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Shut Up and Dance (1994)

for symphony orchestra

2 fl (+ picc), 2 ob, 2 cl (+ b cl), 2 bsn (+ cbsn)
4 hn, 2 tpt, 2 tbn, b tbn, tba
2 perc, pno, hp
strings

duration: 10 minutes

Commissioned by the BBC

Programme note
The musical language of Shut Up And Dance is heavily influenced by non-European ideas as well as ‘popular’ dance music. Deliberately, there is no attempt at combining the various strands: African and Brazilian rhythms glide past Indonesian gamelan with the whole supported by African drumming. In one continuous movement, the work remains in the same tempo throughout and consists of alternating verses and refrains. The refrains are scored for full orchestra exploring an endless sequence of chords which strive upwards underpinned by a full array of tom-toms in the percussion section.The title comes from the name of a New York nightclub and was composed in the summer of 1994.

First performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales with conductor Grant Llewellyn at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on 17 November 1994

Press
“Barber’s music, minimalistically Afro-Manhatten (the new work is named after a New York night-club), is candidly a child of the pick-up ensemble: easy-going, fun, slightly whacky in its ornamentation of (not quite maddeningly) naïve, repetitive melodic figures and rhythm.”
Stephen Walsh, The Independent, 19 November 1994

17.11.94            CARDIFF St David’s Hall, BBC National Orchestra of Wales
10.09.97            CARDIFF Coal Exchange, Vale of Glamorgan Festival, BBC NOW
23.09.98            CARDIFF  Coal Exchange, BBC NOW
05.01.14            ASCOT LVS, Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra
21.07.14            BUDAPEST, Karmelia Udvar, Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra

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Grounds For Action (1991)

for chamber orchestra

2 fl, 2 ob, 2 cl, 2 bsn
2 hn, 2 tpt, 2 tbn
2 perc, pno
strings

duration: 10 minutes

Programme note
Grounds For Action is a set of passacaglias, or grounds, in canon form. The original score was commissioned by Moving Being in 1988 for In Düsseldorf and Nebraska, a mixed media performance in memory of the controversial German artist Joseph Beuys. During the performance, the music accompanied the actions of three artists/technicians who intermittently manipulated the performance space to create new spatial structures. In a similar way, the ground bass line which forms the raw material for the music undergoes a number of transformations which develop in strict three-part canon.

First performed by the Welsh College of Music and Drama Chamber Orchestra at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff on 15 November 1991

15.11.91          CARDIFF Sherman Theatre
16.11.91          CARDIFF Sherman Theatre

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Jaliya (1990)

for chamber orchestra

2 fl (+ picc), 2 ob, 2 cl, 2 bsn
2 hn, 2 tpt, 2 tbn
2 perc, pno
strings

duration: 16 minutes

Commissioned by the Welsh College of Music and Drama with funds supplied by the Welsh Arts Council

Programme note
Jaliya meaning ‘music of the Jalis’, refers to the hereditary musicians, or ‘jalis’, of north west Africa whose vocal and instrumental music inspired the present work. The score of Jaliya combines elements of the ‘kora’ (African harp) technique and the Islamic influenced vocal characteristics with traditional African drumming patterns.

First performed by the Welsh College of Music and Drama Chamber Orchestra at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on 20 November 1990

20.11.90            CARDIFF  St David’s Hall
30.04.91            CHELTENHAM Pump Room
01.06.91            ST DAVID’S  Cathedral

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Sex and Death at Covent Garden (1983-86)

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for chamber orchestra

2 ob, t sax, b sax (+ a sax)
tpt, tbn
timp
2 vla, 2 vcl, db

duration: 50 minutes

Commissioned by Chapter, Cardiff, with funds provided by the Welsh Arts Council

Description
Sex and Death at Covent Garden is an installation event for chamber orchestra. Taking as its starting point a few musical fragments from Gluck’s opera Orfeo, the work explores eighteenth century stylistic and structural ideas. The musicians are constantly re-distributed, splitting into mobile groups to create a wide range of spatial effects. 
Section 1:     
1          Intrada
2          Allegro I
3          Recitative + Aria
4          Allegro II
5          Cadenza
Section 2:     
6          Quartetto
7          Adagio
8          Ritornello
9          Passacaglia
Section 3:     
10         Allegro III
11         Cadenza

First performed by the New Arts Consort at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff on 2 May 1986
with Ruth Watson (oboe), Bethan Thomas (oboe), Matthew Bailey (alto and baritone saxophones), Merlin Shepherd (tenor saxophone), Katherine Gifford (trumpet), Gwyn Daniels (trombone), John Abendstern (timpani), Charlie Buchanan (viola), John Rayson (viola), Steven Callow (cello), Alexandra Robinson (cello), Michael Bell (double bass) and Lol Coxhill

Press
“Charlie Barber’s latest work, Sex and Death at Covent Garden, is a stunning event. Performed by the new Arts Consort in Cardiff’s National Museum of Wales among homoerotic marble sculptures and white-jacketed Canton trendies, it’s reminiscent of those Sixties happenings where the audience was an integral part of the live performance…The orchestra, starting with 10 bars from Gluck’s Orfeo, disperse and reassemble at various points…The music is marvellously sonorous, arranged with the skill that is always apparent in Barber’s work.”
David Adams, The Guardian, May 1986

“Charlie Barber’s Sex and Death at Covent Garden intriguingly called ‘an orchestral installation’, is basically an extended composition for chamber orchestra, whose members are ‘constantly re-distributed, splitting into mobile groups to create a wide range of spatial effects’. Sections of the piece come from the heavens, in the gallery of the museum’s high rotunda, other parts from the widely distanced staircases at either end of the hall, and from other more obscure parts, all in the tradition of the spatial antiphony of Gabrieli at St Marks. Barber’s very fine orchestral composition is an extended piece in eleven short movements for thirteen players, entirely derived from ten bars of the opening chorus of Gluck’s opera Orfeo systematically dissected, displaced, and subjected to various compositional procedures. The music stands apart from run of the mill systems music, however, in being rigorously organised but not static, and well able to hold its own developmentally for its 50 minutes duration.”
David Briers, Performance magazine, July 1986

02.05.86           CARDIFF National Museum of Wales
17.05.86           NOTTINGHAM Midland Group

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