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ORGAN SYMPHONIES

All the movements of my Organ Symphonies are written in such a way that, although they are symphonic in construction, they can be successfully played on their own. All these movements are titled and each one is independent and yet simultaneously related to the others conceptually. The average duration of a complete Organ Symphony is approximately thirty minutes and the score can be purchased for £35, US $50 or €45.

Click any title to hear an extract of the piece    

SYMPHONY NO 1

No. 1 SIGIL
This piece is a musical self-portrait. Its theme is derived from my initials. An exciting coda.
No. 2 SOUND SENSES
Very ethereal in nature.
No. 3 BIRTHDAY CHANT  (Sound Cloud)
This takes a fragment of the plainsong Alleluia, set for my birthday , and subjects it to certain compositional devices. A powerful work.
No. 4 TEMPUS FUGIT
A musical allegory of time literally flying.
No.5 TRANSCENDING  (YouTube)
The opening theme goes through a number of transformations to portray a journey from one state of being to another.

 

SYMPHONY NO. 2

No. 1 ANTIPHON  (Vimeo)
As the title suggests, this piece is antiphonal in nature with meditative and joyous passages.
No. 2 EUPHONIA
Beautiful sounds.
No. 3 MELODIC LANDSCAPES 
Conjures up idyllic peace and nostalgia with an attractive melody and rich harmony.
No. 4 HARMONIES OF PERCEPTION
An introverted but at the same time demonstrative work. Melody accompanied by exquisite harmonic dissonances.
No. 5 PAEAN AND FUGUE
A festive and vibrant paean followed by fugal statements of the theme, with an exciting coda.

 

SYMPHONY NO. 3

No. 1 SPACE WALK
This march is a light-hearted portrayal of an astronaut floating around the earth.
No. 2 OUT OF SPACE
The title has two meanings - feeling crowded or in another perception!
N
o. 3 CANONIC DIMENSIONS
A canon with cadences and a crescendo.
No. 4 INTERGALACTIC VOICES
The unimaginable voids of space? Very atmospheric.
No. 5 SPACE DANCE  
A
cosmic break-dance of grand proportions.

 

 

SYMPHONY NO. 4
This symphony is dedicated to the memory of my mother, Helen Mary Heyes

Listen to a complete performance of my Organ Symphony No. 4 played by Carson Cooman who is a composer and international concert organist from Harvard. USA.

No. 1 ENCOMION
A celebration of my mother's life.
No. 2 PAST TIME  
Two meanings to this title - looking back at life and beyond time itself. A memorable melody.
No. 3 LAMENTATION
The theme is based on the letters of my mother's name. A sad but compelling piece.
No. 4 PANACEA
 Indeed a tonic!
No. 5 MARANATHA 
 An Aramaic word calling on Christ. The piece takes the form of a joyous, rhythmical dance, full of activity. Exciting!

 

SYMPHONY NO. 5

No. 1  INTRADA
A gradual crescendo of complex harmonic canons.
No. 2  ANDANTE, LENTO
Sensual melodies interspersed with luscious harmonies.
No. 3  SCHERZO
Truly playful with an unusual end.
No. 4 FINALE
A tour de force. Chords representing love, hate, life and death are juxtaposed with brilliant toccata sections. The coda is entitled, 'The March of Oblivion'. Must be heard.

 


 

SYMPHONY NO. 6

No. 1  RERUM OMNIUM FERE NODUS
This title is a quote from Cicero's writing on the subject of the Pythagorean/Platonic cosmos and describes the number seven. Literally translated, 'The Knot of Almost Everything'. What Cicero is alluding to is 'The Key to the Universe'. This piece takes the form of chords and refrains using a fragment of the first melody that I ever notated.
No. 2  MIRABILE DICTU  (Marvellous to Behold) 
A jubilant canon and majestic chordal passages adorned with glorious modulations of key.
No. 3  PYTHAGOREAN DREAMS (YouTube)
In ancient Greece the Pythagorean cult performed music to induce peace and tranquillity. The work uses the Pythagorean Scale which represents The Music of the Spheres. Very atmospheric music of stunning beauty.
No. 4  HYPOSTASIS
The essence, real personal subsistence. A delightful piece designed to give food for thought.
No. 5  REMEMBER ME
A brilliant toccata. The opening passage uses the rhythmic intonation from Henry Purcell's 'Dido's Lament' (Remember Me) in order to celebrate the  tercentenary of the composer's death.

 

SYMPHONY NO. 7

No. 1  RHAPSODY
A montage of captivating melodies joined by exuberant chordal progressions.
No. 2  MEDITATION
Slow, ravishing modal melodies, accompanied by contemplative harmonies, combine to induce a sense of serenity.
No. 3 TIME PLAY  (YouTube)
A stunning display of syncopated dance rhythms, followed by canons of soaring intensity. Breath taking!
No. 4  SONIC VISIONS
Written to mark the new millennium. Rapid passages, apocalyptic chords, arabesques of joy, inventive canons and chorales combine to make a fearsome proclamation of the 21st century.



 

SYMPHONY NO. 8

No.1 INTROIT  (Vimeo)
A juxtaposition of fast and slow passages which end with a fugal treatment of the plainsong subject.
No. 2 BEYOND
Two melodies, the first with its distinctive character and the second, distant and mysterious, combine to produce and evocative composition.
No. 3 ARCHIMEDES (YouTube)
The genius of Archimedes seemed to have no bounds. He thought that his greatest contribution to geometry was his Ratio of a Sphere to a Cylinder 2:3. It is said that he wanted this achievement recorded on his tombstone. As a tribute, I have incorporated the Ratio in this work. Eclectic music, both joyous and majestic.
No. 4  POEM
A feast of melodic invention and harmonic colour.
No. 5 TERPSICHORE
The title is derived from the Greek words terpein (to enjoy) and choros (dance). After an ascending introduction, ostinato chords accompanied by canonic augmentation and diminution unite to create a dance. There then follows a section depicting Whirling Dervishes, succeeded by a chordal passage. The music then further develops the previous ideas and ends with a toccata coda.

 

SYMPHONY NO. 9

No.1 PASSACAGLIA  (YouTube)
Although one always remembers J S  Bach's genius in this form, my work with its 20 variations on this original theme bears little relation to his passacaglia. In my manipulation of numerous melodic and harmonic devices I have endeavoured to create a work of beauty and majesty.

No. 2 MINUET AND TRIO  
A 21st century interpretation of and 18th century form.  The Minuet employs whole tone harmony which is contrasted by the Trio's simple melodic canons.
No. 3 NIGHT LIGHT
An evocation of the incredible.  The vision of an area of instant daylight surrounded by night.  With modal melodies and harmonic reverie it evokes the enigmatic.
No. 4 MAGIC OF THE MOMENT
This fusion of alluring melodies and harmonic modulations conjures up a sense of spontaneity, accompanied by episodes in a more reflective mood.
No. 5 KRATOS (YouTube)
From the Greek meaning strength and power. An impressive array of rhythmic drive, stark harmonies and striking melodic fragments develop and culminate in an uncompromising show of splendour and power.  A musical portrayal of the different manifestations of the meaning of Kratos.

 

SYMPHONY NO. 10

No. 1 OREMUS (YouTube)
From Latin meaning  ‘ Let us Pray.’
Breathtaking toccatas, rapid thematic passages and choral dialogues combine to produce this transcendent supplication.

No. 2 ONTOGENIC VARIANTS
This piece opens with its attractive them in canon with a pedal accompaniment, followed by two variations.  There is then further development of the three variants concluding on a soft chord of F major.
No. 3 MEMORANDUM MYSTIQUE
Sumptuous harmonies accompany slow modal melodies, exotic thematic material and arcane chord progressions collude in an attempt to reveal the unknowable.
No. 4 ESCHATOLOGIC STUDY (YouTube)
This title has two meanings.
1: A study on the last and final
2: A study in compositional techniques.
Idiomatically this work is eclectic.  The spirit is awoken by a succession of rhythmic ostinatos, melismatic energy, antiphonal chords and apocryphal fanfares.  An awesome finale to this Tenth Symphony.

 

     

 

SYMPHONY NO. 11
Listen to a complete performance of my Organ Symphony No. 11 played by Carson Cooman who is a composer and international concert organist from Harvard, USA.

No. 1 TREE LANGUAGE
An evocation of the impressive sight of a forest of mature trees.
No. 2 CATACOUSTIC VISIONS
Mysterious music with its echo effects, hypnotic theme, contrast of tempo and dynamics. This is a compelling composition.
No. 3 YOU SING THE UNKNOWN
Based on a single bird's song which caught my attention.
No. 4 THE RING OF SPRING
A triumphant toccata depicting the vigour and energy of Spring.
 


SYMPHONY NO. 12

No. 1 ECLIPSE
Written to celebrate the 1999 total eclipse of the sun.  The music evokes the powerful, primeval nature of this event.
No. 2 HEARD, SEEN AND TOUCHED (YouTube)
A meditation on the First Letter of St John, chapter 1, verses 1 - 4.
No. 3 THOUGHT PATTERN NUMBER 1
Light hearted two part melodies and reflective chord sequences, together create a sense of well-being.
No. 4 THOUGHT PATTERN NUMBER 2
A hypnotic rhythmic drive evokes overtones of impending menace.
No. 5 HIS NAME IS MUSIC
Composed in 2000 to mark the 250th anniversary of the death of J S Bach.  This piece takes the form of a dance trio concluding in a glorious hymn of joy.

 

SYMPHONY NO. 13

No. 1 PARCE DOMINE  (Spare, O Lord) (YouTube)
This work uses a fragment of this Lenten plainsong to mighty effect.

No. 2 REQUIEM AETERNAM (YouTube)
A slow, mournful melody unfolds between the right hand and pedal.

No. 3 HANGING ON THE CROSS
A meditation on the awesome events leading to the death of Christ.

No. 4 INTERCESSION PRELUDE
(Plainsong from the Litany of the Saints) A choral prelude with the theme in canon.
.No. 5 INTERCESSION LITANY
A powerful interpretation of the Litany.

 

 

 

SYMPHONY NO. 14
Listen to a complete performance of my Organ Symphony No. 14 played by Carson Cooman who is a composer and international concert organist from Harvard, USA.

No. 1 SONG OF THE ANNOINTED
A tuneful celebration of the Christ figure.
No. 2 CANTUS
Highly melodious with a gentle, rocking accompaniment is an apt description of this serenely tranquil music.
No. 3 EPIGRAPH
A metaphorical inscription in sound.  This two part work could also be described as a musical citation.
No. 4 BENEDICTION
Two part canons and exquisite chord sequences in close harmony embrace the spiritual.
No. 5 PNEUMA
This breath of a soul is sumptuously rich in harmonic and melodic invention.

 

SYMPHONY NO. 15

No. 1 IMPRESSIONS OF AUSTRALIA (YouTube)
My trip to Australia in 2007 inspired me to write this eclectic music. A striking melody which emulates the rhythmic intonation of the word Australia dominates throughout. Together with energetic passages and joyous chords they celebrate an amazing continent.
No. 2 MIND MUSIC
The memorable melody which permeates the whole work is the result of an idée fixe that I experienced on numerous occasions.
No. 3 QUONDAM
A strident evocation of the past.
No. 4 BEFORE THE CLOSE  (YouTube)
This simple melody, together with characteristic harmony, manifests my penultimate symphonic work.
No. 5 FANTASY FINITO
The last movement of the last Symphony, a magnificent swansong.
 

 


This photo was taken after completing the recording of my Organ Symphony No. 16  on the organ of St. Joseph‘s Highgate, London. I recorded all my organ symphonies on this organ from 1990 to 2017
 

 

SYMPHONY NO. 16  (YouTube)

No.1 MAGNA CARTA
I composed this Work to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the charter of rights of the same name which was signed by King John of England in Runnymede on June 15, 1215. This legal document stands today as an important and seminal influence on the developments in political liberty over the centuries. It was described by the renowned English jurist Lord Denning as “the greatest constitutional document of all times—the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.” In keeping with this inspiration this music is bold and thoroughly “grounded” in feeling. The opening intonation (with its interval of the open 4th) evokes music of the early gothic era. The piece develops with an integration of toccata‐like ideas in irregular, energetic rhythms and broader, majestic passages accompanied by chromatic episodes reflecting the discourse between the barons and the King.
No.2 SAMADHI
The ancient Sanskrit word “Samadhi” literally means “direct together”. In other words, human consciousness becomes one with cosmic consciousness. To represent this state of being the Piece uses a repeated short modal chant accompanied by melodic refrains.
No.3 MANNA
Although the word ‘manna’ is used in the book of Exodus to mean ‘food from heaven’ the word literally comes from the Greek/Aramaic word meaning ‘what is this’. This composition is comprised of short fragmentary bursts of joy accompanied by meditative sections accompanied by fugal trios of rhythmic augmentation and diminution. The whole work is dominated by a 4 note theme which is subjected to various dynamic and harmonic combinations. This music asks more question then it gives answers hence the title “What is this?”
No.4 SHABDA  (SoundCloud)
This ancient Sanskrit word literally means ‘speech sound’. Shabda is a hymn, sacred song, it is also a spiritual musical sound that can be heard during yogic meditation and is believed to have a spiritually transformative power. In order to portray this state of being the Piece opens with a melodic melisma followed by a canon between the manuals with rhythmic augmentation in the pedal. There are also short passages of calming chord progressions and all these ideas are further developed throughout the Work. In this composition I have endeavoured to communicate a state of well-being, to be at one with the vibrations of the universe.
No.5 MANASAPUTRA
This is an ancient Sanskrit word which literally means “mind-born son” or "mind-son" In Hinduism, the god Brahma created ten sons from his mind. This fascinating idea is conceptually similar to the Christian belief in the Incarnation. This finale to my 16th Organ Symphony is exuberantly joyous with a succession of rhythmic chord progressions, toccata sections in dotted rhythms and chordal ostinatos. A drawing together of the religious beliefs of East and West.

 

SYMPHONY NO. 17

No.1 SUPPLICATION CATACLYSMIC  (SoundCloud)
This invocation opens with fortissimo chords separated by long rests designed to be enhanced by the acoustic ambience of a cathedral. There then follows rapid improvisatory passages accompanied by more meditative quasi plainsong interludes. The Coda concludes on mighty calamitous chord.

No.2 EIRENICON (SoundCloud)
This movement was commissioned by the English/Greek organist Eleni Keventsidou. The word Eirenicon comes from the ancient Greek word meaning a proposal made as a means of achieving peace. This plea for peace opens with a modal melody firstly in a two part canon then re-occurs throughout the Work. This is followed by passages derived from ‘dona nobis pacem’ (give us peace) from the plainsong Agnus Dei.

No.3 ANTAHKARANA  (YouTube)
This is an ancient Sanskrit word which literally means a path or bridge between higher and lower mind. To portray this concept the Work opens with a thunderous statement of the theme followed by a variety of harmonic and melodic manifestations of this idea.

No.4 HYMN TO THE HEROIC
This piece takes the form of a 21st-century choral prelude dedicated to the genuine heroes of this world. It opens with bold florid refrains concluding on a strident chord which are repeated throughout the Work. In juxtaposition to these episodes there are two original themes which are treated to various types of counterpoint.

No.5 PERSONA
Over the centuries artists have painted self-portraits and in this work I have endeavoured to do the same but with music. This extended piece is based on three ideas one which is florid and forceful, the second which is light hearted  in the form of a quasi-scherzo and the third which is based on my name. ‘B’ flat = (in German notation ‘B’), ‘B’= (in German notation ‘H’), ‘E’, F sharp = ‘Y’, ‘E’, ‘C’ =( phonetic sound ‘S’) all resulting in B. HEYES. A powerful conclusion to my 17th Organ Symphony.

 

 


SYMPHONY NO. 18

Listen to the World Premiere of my Organ Symphony No. 18 performed by Carson Cooman, the composer and international concert organist from Harvard, USA. This was first published on YouTube on Monday 25th January 2021. The video is preceded by a discussion between myself and Carson giving  insights into the composition of this symphony.

No.1 COSMIC CALLS
This is an evocation of the immensity of outer space, the inconceivable vastness of superclusters of galaxies and the unimaginable voids between them. After the opening of the work with its distinctive descending perfect 4ths there then followers a powerful manifestation of the theme in the pedal. The middle section takes the form of a succession of antiphonal episodes together with the Theme in canon between the manuals and the pedal with an ostinato accompaniment. The Theme then returns in the pedal concluded by a dramatic cadence.

No.2 CONTRA PLAGAM
In the 9th century A.D. the eminent Irish scholar and cleric Sedulius Scottus wrote a poem entitled “Contra Plagam” (Against the plague). The poem urges God to spare the people from plague. The parallels between this 9th century poem and the present Covid 19 Pandemic are obvious to see.
In order to depict this Poem I used a specific mode melodically and harmonically in various ways. There are quasi choral passages and repeated refrains of supplication. Throughout the music a ‘Plague Theme’ appears four times becoming gradually louder. This piece is in essence mournful but at the same time it possesses a glint of optimism.


No.3 MAN IS THE DREAM OF A SHADOW
The title of this movement comes from a quote from Pythian VIII by Pindar who is counted as one of the nine poets of ancient Greece. The only works of his to have survived complete are a series of odes written to celebrate the victors in athletic games.
“Creatures of a day. What is someone? What is no one? Man is the dream of a shadow.”
Written around 446 BC this is probably Pindar’s last work, he would have been an old man by now, and he sees that both successes and misfortunes are transient and ephemeral. Joy is insubstantial, the dream of a shadow. Man is the creature of a day, nothing more than a fleeting dream.
To portray this concept the Work uses reflective interrelated melodies together with their inversions which are continually subjected to a variety of harmonisations and counterpoint.

No.4 SOLEMN END
Perhaps I’m asking a question by creating the ambiguity of having a piece referring to the end in the middle of the Symphony?
This movement uses a melody which is accompanied with a variety of harmonisations and is interjected with a fanfare progression. The coda is comprised of a two part fugato and ends with the final statement of the fanfare.

No.5 FOLK SONG
This movement is based on a melody that I wrote in 1978 for an original traditional folk song about a maiden mourning the loss of her lover who she last saw before he went to war. The music progresses as the story unfolds and is interspersed with chordal episodes expressing sadness and longing.

No.6 THE SOUNDS THAT THE VOYAGERS SAW
The twin Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft are exploring where nothing from Earth has flown before. Continuing on their more-than-40-year journey since their 1977 launches, they each are much farther away from Earth and the sun than Pluto. In August 2012, Voyager 1 made the historic entry into interstellar space, the region between stars, filled with material ejected by the death of nearby stars millions of years ago. Voyager 2 entered interstellar space on November 5, 2018 and scientists hope to learn more about this region. Both spacecraft are still sending scientific information about their surroundings through the Deep Space Network, or DSN.
The primary mission was the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn. After making a string of discoveries there — such as active volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io and intricacies of Saturn's rings — the mission was extended. Voyager 2 went on to explore Uranus and Neptune, and is still the only spacecraft to have visited those outer planets. The adventurers' current mission, the Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM), will explore the outermost edge of the Sun's domain and beyond.
I well remember being amazed when I first saw the Voyager’s photos of the outer planets and their moons in the 1980s. When writing this music I endeavoured to create a sonic picture of what it would be like to actually be with one of these Voyager space probes; using mysterious melodies in 3 canonic trio sequences each time starting in a different voice. Atmospheric descending chords separate the canons each time concluded by an enigmatic bird call.

No.7 REVELATION RAPTURES
There are a number of forms of revelation from the spiritual to the conceptual from the profound to the ephemeral. In this final movement of the Symphony I have aspired to encapsulate the euphoria of such an experience. The Work opens with an exotic dance which includes rhythmic sections expressing ecstatic joy. In addition there is the first statement of a short anagogic theme. There follows further development of all this previous material. The second half is a rhythmic toccata which starts with the introduction of two stately and powerful fortissimo themes. The first is in unison between the pedals and manuals and the second in the pedals in octaves accompanied by strident chords. All these ideas are then developed again ending with the return of the anagogic theme played fortissimo in octaves in the pedal with dramatic chords followed by a mighty cadence.
 

 


SYMPHONY NO. 19

Listen to the World Premiere of my Organ Symphony No. 19 performed by Carson Cooman, the composer and international concert organist from Harvard, USA. This was first published on YouTube on Wednesday 21st April 2021
 

No. 1 THEOTOKOS
The title refers to Mary, Mother of God (Greek: Μήτηρ (τοῦ) Θεοῦ) or Mother of Incarnate God. The Council of Ephesus in AD 431 decreed that Mary is the Theotokos because her son Jesus is both God and man: one divine person with two natures (divine and human) intimately and hypostatically united.
This hymn of joy and mystery is based on the plainsong Ave Maria. With a series of 6 note modes constructed from this plainsong which are interspersed with four powerful chordal manifestations of the theme.

 No. 2 CONTEMPLATIONS
Many religions teach that contemplation is a kind of inner vision or seeing, transcendent of the intellect, facilitated by means of practices such as prayer and meditation. It was an important part of the Philosophy of Plato too. He thought that through contemplation the soul may ascend to knowledge of divine Forms. Plotinus as a neo Platonic philosopher also expressed contemplation as the most critical of components for one to reach henosis (a Classical Greek word for mystical "oneness", "union" or "unity"). To Him the highest contemplation was to experience the vision of God. Plotinus explained: "The point of action is contemplation, it is therefore the end of action" and "Such is the life of the divinity and of divine and blessed men: detachments from all things here below, scorn of all earthly pleasures, the flight of the lone to the Alone."
The piece takes the form of a series of descending chordal passages each time appearing in a different Greek mode (Mixolydian, Lydian, Phrygian, Dorian, Etc). In addition there are two episodes of antiphonal sustained atonal chords played on two different soft registrations which have a rhythmic sequence 4 and 5 beats.

 No. 3 TECHTONICS
The word techtonics comes from the Latin techonicus and the Ancient Greek τεκτονικός (tektonikos) 'pertaining to building’  It’s frequently used in relation to the structure of the earth's crust and the large-scale processes which take place within it."the movements of the tectonic plates" Although, fundamentally I use the Word in this piece to describe the way the music is constructed. I employ a succession of musical ideas with contrasting dynamics and tempi that are interwoven in order to create a collage of different sounds. These ideas vary from rhythmically jagged to reflective and mysterious.

 No. 4 IMAGES
The word image can have a multifarious number of meanings from the visual to the mental and spiritual. Imagination best describes the direction of this work with its passages of symmetrical harmony with intervals that contract accompanied by modal melodies and chords based around a sustained perfect fourth. Each time the symmetrical harmony appears it becomes louder and more affirmative representing the concept of reaching an ultimate image.

 No. 5 THEOSIS
The term theosis has two meanings, “the condition or the state of deity” and “the deification of man.” It is a transformative process whose aim is likeness to or union with God as taught by the Eastern Church.
The Work opens with the ascending theme in octaves followed a vigorous toccata with rhythmic drive. This is succeeded by a canonic modal chorales together with another theme using ascending chords. A different manifestations of the opening ascending theme and toccata return concluding with a powerful chorale.