Mr Bach’s Bottle-bank

Giles SwayneGZ042
Organ | Duration: 5 minutes

12 short variations on “Ten green bottles”, tumbling chromatically and dramatically downwards through the octave, and culminating in a 5–part fugue in the manner of JS Bach. An entirely frivolous organ involuntary, guaranteed to make you laugh. Environmentally friendly, too. It was first performed at Christ Church, Oxford on 27th July 2005 by Kevin Bowyer, who also played it at recitals in Wells, Durham and Truro cathedrals in August.

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Giles SwayneGZ106
High voice and piano | Duration: 12 minutes

A cycle of four settings of French poems for high voice & piano. First performed in August 2010 by soprano Juliette de Massy with Giles Swayne at the Tout-petit Festival de Musique, St Germain-de-Calberte, in the Cévennes region of France.


  • Sonnet II (Louise Labé)
  • Rondel (Mallarmé)
  • Chanson d’automne (Verlaine)
  • Complainte de la Lune en province (Laforgue)

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The joys of Travel

Giles SwayneGZ086
High voice and piano

Commissioned by tenor Benjamin Hulett in 2009 for his recital CD Departures, which appeared in November 2010. Pointed and lyrical settings of three ironic poems by the Giles Swayne about the effects of mass tourism on communities, and the seductive horrors of low-cost flights and package holidays.

  • Departures
  • In-flight entertainment
  • Arrivals

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Agnes Wisley’s Chillout Fantasy

Giles SwayneGZ063
Wind orchestra: 2 flutes, piccolo, alto flute; 2 clarinets in B flat, E flat piccolo clarinet, bass clarinet; 4 saxophones (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone), 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 2 trumpets in B flat, 2 cornets in B flat, 3 trombones, 2 tubas (tenor, bass), timpani (doubling tom-toms in 3rd movt), percussion (3 players), 2 harps, piano/celesta, contrabass | Duration: 14 minutes

In three short movements, Agnes Wisley’s Chillout Fantasy was commissioned by the College Commission Consortium and its premiere was given at the Barbican by the Guildhall Symphonic Wind Ensemble, conducted by Peter Gane, on 18th March 2008.

Agnes Wisley of the title is a fictional lady of solid build and fearsome aspect (not unlike one of Wooster’s aunts). Beneath her armour-plated bosom beats the heart of a romantic: her bedside books are the publications of Mills & Boon with titles such as Stormfire, Second Chance for Love, and Angry Desire.

Each movement is quicker than the one before. In Daydreams Agnes dreams wistfully of the chisel-jawed hunk who will whisk her from her drab life to an improbable paradise. Bodice-ripper plays on that cliché of cheap romantic fiction, the violent swing between hostility and passionate desire. The characters in such stories see-saw madly from one emotion to the other – usually as a result of absurd misunderstandings. In this movement the mood swings literally from one bar to the next. In Disco nightmare, Agnes dreams she is at a disco. During a “comfort break” in the Ladies, she overhears girlie chatter revealing that her man is two-timing her. She is “devastated”, and her fantasies are rudely shattered. This is not how such yarns usually end . . .

    • Daydreams
    • Bodice-ripper
    • Disco nightmare
  Score and parts  

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Babar the Elephant

John BloodGZ066
Picc, 2 Fls, 2 Obs, Solo Clt, 3 Clts, Bass Clt, 2 Bsns, 2 Alto Sax, Ten Sax, Bar Sax, 2 Tpts, Solo Cornet, 3 Cornets, 4 Horns (F), 2 Tenor Trombs, Bass Tromb, Euphonium, Tuba, Timpani, 3 Percussion, Piano (optional) | Duration: 5½ minutes

Written as incidental music for the complete Babar stories of Jean de Brunhoff and read by John Nettleton of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Babar the Elephant was commissioned by Tellastory (Random House) for their popular audio cassette series. This wind band arrangement, made by the composer, includes the original title music and several lively depictions of Babar’s adventures. Bedford Modern School Wind Band gave the first performance of the wind band version in 1986.

  Score and parts

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