The life-giving music of

Geoffrey  Bush

 

1920 - 1998

~ celebrating  the  100th  anniversary  of  a  treasured  composer ~

NEW BIO

Exclusive: read here my extended

biographical and musicological article

Events &
Writings

COMING UP:

Suite Champêtre:  selection

Natalia Williams-Wandoch, piano

along with music by

Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel, Chopin, Brahms & Debussy

Saturday 6th November 2021, 11.30 am

St Peter's Church, March, Cambs.

Coffee Concert series

and

Thursday 18th November 2021, 1.00 pm

Howden Minster lunchtime concert

Saturday 11th December 2021, 11.30am

Rudi's Blues

Sonatina I:  2nd mvt

Matthew's Tunes (piano 4-hands)

At Christmas Tree Festival, St. Peter's Church, March, Cambridgeshire

Along with music by

Rhodri Williams-Wandoch, poetry, Christmas-tree artworks and refreshments

 

Spring 2022 (tbc)

 

An exploration of the two Sonatinas for piano (video/stream)

Date & details TBC

(Analysis / workshop / excerpts / comparisons to other works.)

Scores
Scores by Geoffrey Bush at
musicroom.com
 
-most are very inexpensive;
 
-duos & songs designed for enjoyment as chamber music;
 
-plus larger works in all genres.

100th-Anniversary article

by John France

This is a good and important message, and an introduction to this repertoire.

 

When it comes to Bush's style and 'key works,' I personally would not so much emphasise musical 'conservatism.'  Bush's very diverse oeuvre actually reflects his appreciation of music from across the tonal-atonal spectrum, but the darker and more explorative pieces are indeed less likely to appear in a list of 'key works' like this.  A striking example is the Sonatina Nr.2 for piano, entirely atonal and freely composed out of 8-note rows and interval-play, which I have performed in small recital context and would love to do so again along with the exquisite, quasi-tonal Sonatina Nr.1.  They were originally written for Bush himself to play in radio broadcast.  Also I really hope that The Equation (X=0) will finally receive a second UK production and a recording: it's a sinuous and quasi-tonal chamber opera in one act, four scenes, composed of continuous, contrapuntal semi-recitative, and is a very powerful anti-war parable adapted from John Drinkwater's 1917 play. Nevertheless, Bush strongly believed it is wrong to see stylistically familiar music as 'lesser,' if it does the things music ought to: open the heart and mind, cheer the spirit, give you ideas, and glorify God.  He talked about that in an eccentric and wide-ranging interview (1991) which you can read here.

OTHER PAST EVENTS:

Summer 2020:

Simon Wallfisch & Edward Rushton exploring Greek Love Songs in conversation with Julie and Paul Bush

Video currently unavailable, but watch Wallfisch and Rushton's dramatic video of To Electra from 4 Songs from Herrick's 'Hesperides'

February 2020:

Four Songs from Herrick's Hesperides;

Tributes;

archy at the zoo;

Sonata for Violin and Piano

performed by Maki Sekiya, Chris Murphy and Oxford University Students and fellows

at Balliol College, Oxford

Article

Recordings

RECENT RECORDINGS

MIRABILE MYSTERIUM

(A Great and Mighty Wonder)

A plentiful selection of some of Bush's most expert and extraordinary songs - dark, mystical, philosophical, and effervescent, joyful and jocular, along with playful songs by Bush's friend Joseph Horowitz:

a thrilling, absorbing, ever-surprising album by Susanna Fairbairn and Matthew Schellhorn (2019), available as CD or download and on Spotify.

Watch Fairbairn's and Schellhorn's 2019 trailer - a relaxed discussion of this repertoire, with musical excerpts.

TRIO FOR OBOE, PIANO AND BASSOON

2018 recording by the Iowa Ensemble on MSR Classics, within album Portraits In Music.  A well-crafted chamber piece in 2 movements well worth programming, full of 'typical Bush fingerprints of wit, precision, shifting tonalities and syncopated rhythms,' 'a gorgeous tune,' and a 2nd movement 'full of sadness' with a melody that 'flows with an almost Bachian sense of poise and balance' (John France, review).

 

CD/Download

Spotify

SONATA FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO

A gorgeous world-premiere recording of this intensely passionate sonata, by the Steinberg Duo (2017).  A non-stop, rhapsodic, emotional rollercoaster, it is programmed in between the violin sonatas by Reizenstein and by Bush's mentor and friend, Ireland.

 

Music Web International review

CD

Download

Spotify

'SMALL PIECES FOR ORCHESTRA'

'A winning release' (Gramophone, 2015) - A beautiful album by the Northern Chamber Orchestra and Nicholas Ward.  Contrary to the title, this features long works as well as short, profound ones: Sinfonietta Concertante for cello & orchestra (soloist Raphael Wallfisch), and the absolutely gorgeous Concerto for Light Orchestra, where 'light' definitely refers to the instrumentation rather than the emotional depth. It's a soulful, joyful and perfectly orchestrated suite.  The shorter pieces include the quite popular and darkly mysterious Natus Est Immanuel for strings along with other beautiful string pieces and a very vibrant rendition of Bush's colourful suite of Matthew Locke arrangements, Psyche.  The album closes with a very apt placing of Finale for a Concert, arguably the most brilliant orchestral piece of the lot.

CD / download

Download

Spotify

'GEOFFREY BUSH SONGS'

by Simon Wallfisch and Edward Rushton

An expert and loving performance of a perfect set of song cycles (2010).  Song was at the heart of Bush's music, a genre he always returned to between other commissions and projects.  He had a unique genius for striking, expressive, integral and delicious song-writing, combined with an expertise acquired through a life of accompanying singers. Bush was also a choral scholar at Salisbury Cathedral School, for which he later wrote Missa Brevis Salisburyensis (no recording exists).  Wallfisch has a personal connection to the Bush family, and this heartfelt, expert and perfect album began this pair's recording collaboration.

 

CD / Download

Spotify

Video of 'To Electra'' from 4 Songs from Herrick's 'Hesperides'