From the Sleevenotes: Pasture and Storm

Sleevenotes from PFCD193 Pasture and Storm – New Music for Left Hand Piano and Ensembles


When I embarked on the Pasture & Storm Project (New Repertoire for the Left Hand Alone Pianist) in early 2020, I could not have envisaged how the world would have changed by the time it was completed in Autumn 2022. The storms of the pandemic and the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban resonated around the world and there is no doubt that the creative trajectory of Pasture & Storm was driven in great part by the consequences of these two overwhelming global events. A UK based project unexpectedly became a collaboration between musicians and artists across the world, celebrating diversity in all its colours and splendour.

The seeds for Pasture & Storm were sown back in 2017 when the young pianist Sophia Benton came for lessons. At school Sophia suffered a netball injury which led to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, eventually leaving her unable to use her right hand. Despite the richness of mid-twentieth century repertoire, we found ourselves having to adapt pieces to broaden her stylistic horizons for conservatoire auditions. (She was subsequently accepted by the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.) Extraordinarily, a few weeks after meeting Sophia, I met two amateur pianists at my local gym, both rehabilitating after having right side affecting strokes, distressed at no longer being able to play. It was a great joy to gift them some small pieces, these eventually becoming part of Pasture & Storm. Of course, a project like this had to involve the inspirational virtuoso disabled pianist Nicholas McCarthy, described as ‘a champion of the dynamic and brave world of left hand alone repertoire’. Although there is a great deal of single hand solo piano music, we both felt that there was a definite lack of chamber music involving disabled pianists and adding to this repertoire became the focus of Pasture & Storm. Nicholas’s generous acceptance of the project set the 2-year adventure into motion.

Watching Nicholas play the most extraordinarily difficult music, and inspired by some of the great
classics of left hand repertoire by Ravel, Britten, Prokofiev, Godowsky, Strauss and Scriabin it was
clear from the start that I could write music of incredible virtuosity, power and breadth of expression.
It goes without saying that composing for a single-handed pianist has particular challenges but I
never considered adapting my musical style to accommodate these. The different physicality of the
left hand pianist working across the length of the keyboard has to be studied of course, in the way
one needs to think about the size and structure of the hands of any performer. And there is no doubt
that finding a variety of multi-voiced textures which did not rely on bassline archetypes called for a
good deal of imagination. But I never felt for a moment that the limitation was with the pianist, only
with my ability to write successful music.

The title of the project was taken from a quotation by American cell biologist Kenneth Raymond
Miller: ‘The piano’s world encompasses glass-nerved virtuos and stomping barrel-housers in fedoras;
it is a world of pasture and storm, of perfumed smoke, of liquid mathematics.’ Themes from this
quote run through the sequence of works, suggesting elements of its subject matter and indeed its
emotional gamut, further informed by the context of its composition.

To some extent all of the works explore ways in which people inhabit and envisage the land, how
they relate to the flora and fauna around them – as farm workers, poets, prison labourers, bull
fighters, cowboys, as medieval peasants, lovers, philosophers, as revellers and refugees. Three of the
works, Kabul: ‘when I wake at midnight’, The Nightingales of Afghanistan and I kiss the earth are
inspired by modern and ancient Afghanistan and ‘..the people of His pasture..’ (Scenes from the
Luttrell Psalter), Work Songs for the Land (bonus download), and I sha’n’t be gone long (The Pasture)
relate specifically to working and living in pastoral landscapes, drawing on traditional chants, songs
and dances from the 12th to the 20th century. Both Round Dances and The Book of Storms and Mists
share ideas with these two groups, exploring references to rural entertainments, to depictions of
pastoral idylls and to the visceral storm of a bullfight.

The landscapes of Pasture & Storm are inhabited by the living and the dead, by anonymous ghosts of
long lost communities and the voices of specific deceased and living individuals. Each movement of
The Book echoes the ‘sound-words’ of paired composers and authors – Debussy/Thoreau,
Rachmaninov/Bradbury, Albéniz/Lorca, Ravel/Gibran, and Gordon Crosse/Emily Brontë, and the
transcribed mid-twentieth century songs of cowboy Harry Stevens and penitentiary prisoner Benny
Will Richardson are heard in Work Songs. Both Kabul and The Nightingales resound with the cries of
contemporary Afghans, all of them known to me. They are brought into sharp focus as the
performers vicariously vocalise their cries – a people lamenting the loss of their Home-Land.

In 1937, the left hand alone pianist Paul Wittgenstein wrote to Prokofiev, ‘Thank you for the
concerto but I do not understand a single note in it and I will not play it.’ I am immensely grateful
to Nicholas that he did not adopt Wittgenstein’s attitude, but took on the huge challenge of this
project with such determination and kindness. Without his inspiration, Pasture & Storm simply
wouldn’t exist. Thanks also go to the other pianists who have contributed, Sophia Benton who
performs brilliantly alongside Nicholas in the two sets of duets and Tomáš Klement, performing
The Nightingales, ‘I kiss the earth’ and Round Dances. I have worked with Tomáš a number of times
and cannot begin to say how his understanding of my music, channeled through the most
extraordinary virtuosity and musicality has enhanced my life. I had wanted to write for Peyee Chen
for some years and her insightful, sensitive, powerful performance of the songs is more than I
could have wished for. Along the way, I have made new friends – Steph Gilbert’s fluting joyfulness
has been a delight, Roger Huckle and the Bristol Ensemble (Nancy, Steph, Dave, Harriet, Jeremy and
Jub) gave of their all, entering into the spirit of the pieces with such positive engagement and John
Pickard conducted as if the pieces were his own – I could not have asked for greater commitment.
Thanks to Arthur Keeghan-Bole who generously helped me navigate my way through the pre-
recorded nightingale material, to Veronica Doubleday and John Baily who acted as sounding boards
for the Afghan-inspired pieces. A big thank you to Ken Blair and Will Anderson at bmp also to Chris
Frazer-Smith – in so many ways they have made my days with their incomparable professionalism
and good humour. And finally the biggest thanks to my dearest of friends Mark Hewitt and Marc
Yeats for their encouragement in dark times. This CD is for them.
(SH July 2022)

The Compositions

The five pieces that comprise The Book of Storms and Mists echo Kenneth Miller’s text through their
references to the drama of performance and of the natural world. Each movement takes on the character of a particular style of piano writing associated with other composers and is prefaced by a text which further illuminates the mood of the piece. The opening movement, A Daydream from the World Within, was written some months after the other four. It was a gift for Gordon Crosse who sadly died just before it was finished. The title is taken from one of Gordon’s own works, World Within, settings of poems by Emily Brontë. The Book is dedicated with much admiration to one of the world’s great ‘virtuos’, Nicholas McCarthy.

Idyll: The World Within (Crosse) ‘And, while the wide earth echoing rung To that strange minstrelsy The little glittering spirits sung, Or seemed to sing, to me: “O mortal! mortal! let them die; Let time and
tears destroy, That we may overflow the sky With universal joy!’ (A Daydream, Emily Jane Brontë, 1846)

Caprice: ‘..meadow of the air..’ (Debussy) ‘Fountain-head and source of rivers, Dew-cloth, dream-
drapery, And napkin spread by fays; Drifting meadow of the air… ‘(Mist, Henry David Thoreau, 1895)

Nocturne: ‘..all the fog there ever was..’ (Rachmaninov) ‘..I’ll make a sound that’s so alone.. a voice like all of time and all the fog that ever was.. that whoever hears it will weep in their souls.. will know the
sadness of eternity and the briefness of life…’ (The Fog Horn, Ray Bradbury, 1951)

Pasadoble: ‘..and now his blood goes singing..’ (Albéniz) ‘I want them to teach me to weep like a river
of sweet mists and deep shores, to carry the body of Ignacio, to free him from the double snorting of
the bull.’ (Lament for the Death of Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, Federico Garcia Lorca, 1935)

Aubade:’..the mansion of the sky..’ (Ravel) ‘For that which is boundless in you abides in the mansion ofthe sky, whose door is the morning mist, and whose windows are the songs and the silences of night.’
(The Prophet, Khalil Gibran, 1923)

The quatrains for the song cycle I kiss the earth are taken from High on the Tall Mountain, an illustrated anthology of Afghan chaharbeiti (sung poetry) shown in the original Persian alongside English translations by my dear friend Veronica Doubleday. The texts draw parallels between the many faces of nature and qualities of love with such directness and simplicity. I started writing the piece in April 2021, little knowing how this beautiful country of musicians, poets and artists would be decimated once again by the arrival of the Taliban a few months later in August. Originally the work finished with the joyous declamation of a lover, however I felt compelled to write a further movement in December 2021 – ‘War came to Kabul and her northern plain…God send them blessings of human kindness!’ The work has a triple dedication – to Veronica, to Peyee Chen and to Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey. The work was premiered by Peyee and Tomáš Klement on 9 September 2022 at St. Georges, Brandon Hill, Bristol.

My sweetheart’s name In my thoughts I speak to my love. In his absence I speak to the grass and thorns. I can’t say my sweetheart’s name – but I say it in my songs!

Spring’s here Spring’s here, spring’s here, my flower! It’s sowing time, my flower! Come on, let’s go out and see the flowers – countless flowers are out, my flower!

Snow It’s two or three days since I saw my sweetheart. Snow came and covered the ground – the ground was locked with snow! So when will I see my love?

Chains of ringlets Your black locks of hair, twisting like snakes, beautify your shining face. They fall in chains of ringlets against your neck, like a pile of rippling pearls.

I kiss the earth I kiss the earth where my sweetheart walked. From her sweet smell, flowers have sprung! Love-sick, I roam the mountains and the deserts, like a sorrowful bird that cannot fly.

I play my flute Up in the mountains I play my flute. I’ve lost my camel, so I’m on foot. I’ve lost my camel, a leading camel. Its harness is jingling – where are you, my love?

Gunshots and smoke High on the mountain, a pair of leopards – and the air filled with gunshots and rifle smoke. Friends, you must appreciate one another, for in the grave your sole companion is a pillow of stone.

A lasting momento Black hair and amazing eyes- your home is a spring-time tent.I’ve sung one thousand seven hundred and seven verses – as a lasting memento of you!

War War came to Kabul and her northern plain. God send them blessings of human kindness! Let’s go and pray at the shrine of Ali, who always comforts the dispossessed.

© High on the Tall Mountain Trans: Veronica Doubleday Afghanistan Centre for Kabul University ABLE Publications 2015 (1394 AH)

Kabul: ‘When I wake at midnight’ On the 27 October 2021, Alina, a young Afghan girl I did not know messaged me from Kabul, Afghanistan. Just a few days before she contacted me, Alina was in full time education and at the top of her class. On the day the Taliban entered Kabul she was doing a maths exam. It was never finished. She has not entered school again. Every day we message together in secret about art (many of her drawings and paintings were destroyed by the Taliban soon after their arrival), music, books (reading and discussing Elif Shafak’s The 40 Rules of Love together), about what it is like to be a young Afghan woman who feels as if ‘the darkness of Winter will never end…’ that she is ‘a bird who has lost her plumage never to fly again’. Alina has given me so many gifts. In return, over a week in late 2021, I wrote her a series of tiny piano pieces recorded each day for her to listen to. As with everything that passes between us, each evening Alina deleted the recordings. Lines from her poems have become the titles of these little pieces. They are dedicated to Alina jan, my dear Afghan daughter, whose courage, perseverance and hopefulness for a better future for herself, her family and her country is utterly astounding. The work was premiered by Sophia Benton and Nicholas McCarthy on 9 September 2022 at St. Georges, Brandon Hill, Bristol.

The Nightingales of Afghanistan is the latest in a series of 12 works inspired by Afghanistan and its people, the first written after the Taliban’s destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in February 2001. I had no idea, a few months into the work’s composition, that the Taliban would once again be sweeping across the country, entering Kabul on 15 August, 2021. The horrendous effect that this had on the country’s culture, its music, its art, its progress in education and women’s rights had a profound impact on how the work unfolded as I wrote. Originally conceived as a lyrical pastorale, the piece evolved into an increasingly brutal lament, a leviathan of grief. The pianist represents both the individual human voice and the nightingale (one of Afghanistan’s national emblems), at first heard singing together.

At times, the solo line is swallowed up by the surrounding music, ultimately becoming part of the final chaos as the ensemble shout out using Sargam – sa na ga ma pa dha ni – the sung notes of the Indian – Afghan gamut (scale).Traditionally used as one means of teaching music, here it represents the Afghan musician’s cries amidst the ‘legacy of blood and chaos’ left in the wake of the allies’ disastrous withdrawal from the country. The work has dedications to 11 Nightingales – Marjan, Shukria, Sima, Wajiha, Sevinch, Bershna, Raihana, Shapiray, Shajia, Zhia Jan & Ustad Alina Gawhary – young women all in Kabul at the time that the Taliban descended. They are musicians, artists, teachers, daughters and mothers. Several are now dispersed into other countries, evacuated in the first days of the Taliban’s new regime. Whilst many are safe, they have left behind their families, their students, their friends and their country. Some remain in Afghanistan, continuously under threat. It has been the honour of my life to help support these young ladies through the great generosity of international donors and through the incredible work of the International Campaign for Afghan Musicians ( The work was premiered by Tomáš Klement and the Bristol Ensemble conducted by John Pickard on 9 September 2022 at St. Georges, Brandon Hill, Bristol. The score is illustrated with a powerful image, A Silent Scream, painted in 2022 by the young artist, Shajia Azhir, a resident of Kabul. She wrote these words to me in June 2022: ‘I am a woman of a land that has been burned in the fire of war for years. I chant out the pain of my land, and draw the terrible darkness of my time on my canvas. The Taliban do not allow me to paint. The Taliban have closed all the gates to my progress. I want to study in a free country and to continue painting. This is my dream.’

Round Dances has three movements, each having fun with characterful dances from England, Spain and India. The opening movement, by turns percussive and lyrical, is ‘a dance with sticks, bones and bells’, reminiscent of two Morris dances – the Molly Dance from Cambridgeshire, and Ploughstots from the Ridings of Yorkshire. Both are traditionally performed on Plough Monday to collect money for distribution amongst the rural poor during harsh winters. Movement 2 is ‘a slow, hypnotic snake dance’ based on one form of the Rajasthan Snake Dance from North West India, made famous by the Khabelia community.

Here the alto flute takes the part of the wind instrument, the pungi. The final movement (which contains echoes from the previous movements) is cast in the form of ‘a broken pasodoble’. Although the dance is associated with many countries and has various functions, my interpretation takes on the style of the ‘display’ pasodoble where the dancers represent the matador and his cape through both angular and sensuous flamenco-inspired movements. All three movements can be performed just on flute or alternatively, on flute with alto flute for the central movement as it is here. The piece was written with Steph Gilbert in mind and is dedicated to her with much affection. The work was premiered by Steph and Tomáš Klement on 9 September 2022 at St. Georges, Brandon Hill, Bristol.

I sha’n’t be gone long is a short lyrical piece based on a gentle poem of the same name by Robert Frost, a farmer’s springtime invitation for us to enjoy the simple pleasures of the natural world. The poem written in 1915 is an example of Frost’s use of colloquial speech to create a beautifully structured text, a wonderful marriage of simplicity and sophistication. My piece is conventional in style, marked ‘with simple lyricism and increasing joyfulness’. Whilst Frost’s poem remains rather restrained, my interpretation becomes more passionate as spring turns into summer. I wrote the piece for my dad, Powell Jessup Harrison. The work was premiered by Roger Huckle and Nicholas McCarthy on 9 September 2022 at St. Georges, Brandon Hill, Bristol.

I’m going out to clean the pasture spring; I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away (And wait to watch the water clear, I may): I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too. I’m going out to fetch the little calf That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young, It totters when she licks it with her tongue. I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.
(Robert Frost) from North of Boston, Henry Holt and Co., 1915

The four brief movements of ‘..the people of His pasture..’ (Scenes from the Luttrell Psalter) are based on illustrations and psalms from the Luttrell Psalter, a celebrated 14th century manuscript commissioned by wealthy Lincolnshire landowner Geoffrey Luttrell. The British Library describes the Psalter: ‘Its lively and often humorous images provide a virtual ‘documentary’ of work and play during a year on an estate such as Sir Geoffrey’s…we see corn being cut, a woman feeding chickens…. There are wrestlers, hawkers, bear baiters, dancers, musicians, throwing games, a mock bishop with a dog that jumps through a hoop – and a wife beating her husband with her distaff.

Such images played a large part in fostering the 19th-century romantic vision of a ‘merrie Englande’
peopled by bountiful lords and ladies and happy peasants playing as hard as they worked.’

The cycle depicts both a single day in the life of these ‘lords, ladies and happy peasants’ and also their
lifespan from birth to death with ensuing Judgement Day. The piece quotes music that would quite
possibly have been known by its cast of characters – the rumbustious 13th century Alleluia Psallat,
Salve Rosa Florum from the Worcester Antiphonarium and the Gregorian chant Dies Irae, each
associated through its psalm with worship at a particular time of day. The final movement
recapitulates music from the previous 3 movements as their various personae are gathered together
ready for judging The title is taken from Psalm 95:7: ‘He is our God, and we are the people of His
pasture, the sheep under His care.’ The work was premiered by Nicholas McCarthy and the Bristol
Ensemble conducted by John Pickard on 9 September 2022 at St. Georges, Brandon Hill, Bristol.
Dedicated to Mark Hewitt.

DAWN Iam Lucis Orto Sidere (Now that daylight fills the sky)
DAY Alleluia Psallat Haec Familia (Alleluia sings this merry company)
DUSK Salve Rosa Florum (Hail, rose)
NIGHT Dies irae, dies illa (That day of wrath, that dreadful day)

Work Songs for the Land (Bonus download track) is a set of 5 brief movements inspired by traditional
songs and melodies from England and America, all associated with rural labour. The music for
movements 2 and 3 (Texas, Mississippi) are based on my transcriptions of performances recorded in
the 1940s, movements 1 and 4 are reworkings of melodies found in Lucy Broadwood’s 1893 collection
English Country Songs, and the final hymn, also known as Work Song has words written by the English
author Anna L. Walker with music by the American Lowell Mason. The duets are dedicated with love
to Richard Dunn.

I Call to the Plough (The Swaffham Prior Plough Monday Song)
II Night Herding Song (Texas Cowboy Song sung by Harry Stephens, 1942) For Binnie
III Field Blues (Makes a Long Time Man Feel Bad: Prison Work Song: sung by Benny Will
Richardson, Camp B, Parchman Farm, Mississippi State Penitentiary, 1947)
IV ‘..for to reap and mow..’ (The Farmer’s Boy transcription of a version sung by Mark Wyatt,
Enborne, Berkshire.)
V Hymn: Work, for the Night is Coming

Sadie Harrison

Sadie Harrison (b.1965, Adelaide, Australia) is a composer and performer known particularly for the socio-political aspects of music-making with several works challenging stereotypes of marginalised peoples – refugees, Afghan women, the deaf, the homeless – celebrating their creativity and individuality with powerful expressions of musical solidarity. For several years, Sadie also pursued a secondary career as an archaeologist. Reflecting her interest in the past, many of her compositions have been inspired by the traditional musics of old and extant cultures with cycles of pieces based on the folk music of Afghanistan, Lithuania, the Isle of Skye, the Northern Caucasus and the UK. Supported by Arts Council England and PRSF (including Women in Music and Composers Fund grants), she has been Composer-in- Residence with Cuatro Puntos (USA), Kunstler Bei Wu Sculpturepark (Germany), and Composer-in-Association with the Afghanistan National Institute of Music. Her symphonic work Sapida- Dam-Nau for the Afghanistan Women’s Orchestra (Ensemble Zohra) was premiered at the Closing Concert of the World Economic Forum, Davos in January 2017 with subsequent performances in Geneva, Weimar and Berlin. Sadie was appointed as Visiting Fellow to Goldsmiths College, London in recognition of her unique compositional research work on Afghanistan. Her works have been released to critical acclaim on Naxos, NMC, Toccata Classics, Divine Art, Métier, Sargasso, Prima Facie, Clarinet Classics, BML, all that dust and Cadenza Music. Sadie’s music is published by UYMP and ABRSM with works on ABRSM and Trinity examination board repertoire lists. Sadie’s personal website is:

The Artists

Nicholas McCarthy

One of Britain’s most inspiring pianists, Nicholas McCarthy was born in 1989 without his right hand and through sheer talent and determination rose above the many obstacles and active discouragement to pursue his love of the piano, going on to study at the prestigious Royal College of Music in London. His graduation in July 2012 drew press headlines around the world, being the only one-handed pianist to graduate from the RCM in its 130-year history. In March 2018 he was awarded honorary membership by its President, HRH The Prince of Wales. Nicholas is a champion of the dynamic and brave world of left hand alone repertoire, a repertoire that first came into being in the early 19th Century and developed rapidly following the First World War as a result of the many injuries suffered on the Battlefield. A career highlight was performing with the British Paraorchestra at the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic games where he played alongside Coldplay and gave a rendition of the Paralympic anthem in front of an audience of 86,000 people and half a billion worldwide viewers. Since then, Nicholas has performed extensively around the world with critical acclaim in both recital tours and with major orchestras. His concert performances, recordings and media features have gained critical acclaim.However his ongoing commitment to encouraging new audiences to classical music along with his work with young people through music education is ever present in his schedule.

Outside of his concert career, Nicholas is one of Europe’s most in demand corporate speakers and
regularly delivers keynote talks to the worlds leading businesses and institutions. Nicholas recently
devised and presented ‘Wittgenstein, Zichy & Me’ broadcast on BBC Radio 3. He has previously guest
presented for the BBC Proms and Leeds International Piano Competition.

Peyee Chen

An omnivore when it comes to performing, Peyee Chen enjoys singing Monteverdi with lute and bass viol as much as singing Bernhard Lang with electronics and electric bass. As a soloist, Peyee has performed at the Philharmonie de Paris, Munich Biennale, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Lucerne Festival, Adelaide Festival, Spitalfields Festival, Big Ears Festival, Cadogan Hall, Hayward Gallery, Club Transmediale Festival, Louth Contemporary Music Society, Rewire Festival, with groups such as Ensemble Intercontemporain, Quatuor Bozzini, Ensemble MusikFabrik, Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, Goeyvaerts Trio, and Crash Ensemble. As an ensemble singer, she has performed with Schola Heidelberg, EXAUDI, BBC Singers, RIAS Kammerchor, Det Norske Solistkor, and Les Canards Chantants, and with groups such as Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Recherche, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Nikel, SWR Experimentalstudio, BCMG, Ensemble Resonanz, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Symphoniker Hamburg. These have included performances at the Bregenzer Festspiele, Ultima Festival, Berliner Philharmonie, Salzburg Festival, Elbphilharmonie, Philharmonie Köln, Festival d’Automne, Royal Festival Hall, Ruhrtriennale, BBC Proms, Bergen International Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, NRK Radio Concert Hall, and the Schwetzingen Festival, with conductors such as Ingo Metzmacher, Simon Rattle, Oliver Knussen, Grete Pedersen, Emilio Pomárico, François-Xavier Roth, Pablo Heras-Casado, and James Weeks.

John Pickard

John Pickard is a British composer of over 70 instrumental and vocal pieces, including six symphonies and six string quartets. His music has been performed by musicians all over the world, from the San Franciso Symphony in the USA to the Nagoya Philharmonic in Japan. Closer to home, his orchestral music has been performed and broadcast by all the BBC orchestras and has been heard several times at the Proms. A four times Nominee in the Ivor Novello Classical Awards, in October 2021 John received the prestigious Gramophone Contemporary Award for a disc of seven of his chamber works played by the Nash Ensemble. John is Professor of Composition at the University of Bristol, where he has worked since 1993 and where he regularly directs both student and professional ensembles in repertoire ranging from Handel to Harrison.

Tomáš Klement

Tomáš Klement is a London-based pianist. A graduate from the Royal Academy of Music (London) and the Janáček Conservatory (Ostrava, Czech Republic) Klement has developed an active performing career as a soloist, ensemble and orchestral player both in the UK and internationally. As a soloist, he champions works from contemporary or lesser-known composers and is passionate about increasing awareness of Czech music in the UK.

His performative style has been described as captivating, colourful and imaginative. Selected ensemble performances include: New Music Biennial at the Royal Festival Hall (London), Islandia & Paradise Lost UK Tour, Piano Circus Korean Tour, and several performances with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Welsh National Opera. Selected solo recitals include: Vila Tugendhat, Czech Republic, Dartington International Summer School and Festival, UK, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, concerto soloist with Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra. Selected recordings include: Reflections (S.Harrison, S.Beamish, N.Muhly), Islandia (Elms) and ..glory of stars.. (S.Harrison for Czech Radio 3 Vltava), Contemplation of Life (K. Slavický).

Stephanie Gilbert

Stephanie Gilbert studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Clare Southworth and Peter Lloyd. There she achieved both a First Class Honorary Degree and a Professional Performance Diploma. She then went on to further her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama gaining a Masters in Orchestral Training. Stephanie is based near Bristol and enjoys a very varied career as an active performer and teacher. She plays with the Bristol Ensemble, Swansea City Opera, La Folia, Orchestra de Cymru and the English National Baroque Ensemble. She has given concerto performances at The Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte, Montepulciano and is a regular soloist with the English National Baroque Ensemble. Stephanie recently toured the South West giving performances of Roald Dahl’s ‘Revolting Rhymes’ and has recorded for film and EP’s. Stephanie teaches the flute at Millfield School, Clifton College and Bristol University. Away from music Stephanie enjoys spending time with her three children, walking the dog and exploring the countryside where they live.

Roger Huckle

Roger Huckle has been the inspiration and guide for Bristol Ensemble – Bristol’s professional chamber orchestra, and a cherished musicians’ collective of exceptional standard – since its foundation in 1994. The Bristol Ensemble is the leading Classical Music ensemble in the West of England. Born in Bristol, Roger studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire and with Frederick Grinke, was a member of Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic, and has performed with many leading UK orchestras and chamber ensemble. He has commissioned and recorded many new chamber works for the Bristol Ensemble. Roger is also a violin teacher at the University of Bristol. He currently spends time both in Bristol and Bergen, Norway pursuing his eclectic musical projects.

His performative style has been described as captivating, colourful and imaginative. Selected
ensemble performances include: New Music Biennial at the Royal Festival Hall (London), Islandia &
Paradise Lost UK Tour, Piano Circus Korean Tour, and several performances with the Bournemouth
Symphony Orchestra and Welsh National Opera. Selected solo recitals include: Vila Tugendhat, Czech
Republic, Dartington International Summer School and Festival, UK, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil,
concerto soloist with Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra. Selected recordings include: Reflections
(S.Harrison, S.Beamish, N.Muhly), Islandia (Elms) and ..glory of stars.. (S.Harrison for Czech Radio 3
Vltava), Contemplation of Life (K. Slavický).

Bristol Ensemble performers

Bristol Ensemble performers: (Roger Huckle (vln), Nancy Johnson (vla), Harriet Wiltshire (vcl), Jub
Davis (db), Stephanie Gilbert (fl), Dave Pagett (clnt), Jeremy Little (perc)) is the city’s only professional
orchestra, founded in 1994 by its Artistic Director and lead violinist Roger Huckle. It is a musicians’
collective with a core of 25 musicians, bringing together the best of the region’s performers. The
Ensemble has flexible configurations, from a piano trio through to full symphony orchestra.

The orchestra holds a pivotal position in South West music, presenting a varied programme of concerts and events in the region’s major venues. The Ensemble has worked with outstanding international artists and soloists, including Dame Evelyn Glennie, Freddy Kempf, Peter Donohoe, Gilles Apap, Andrei Gavrilov, Chloë Hanslip, Matthew Barley, Willard White, Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, Andy Shephard, Wayne Marshall, Lesley Garrett, Emma Johnson, Natalia Lomeiko, and Jiafeng Chen. Film and TV engagements include music for BBC Bristol Natural History Unit and TV productions and the ensemble has also recorded soundtracks for several computer games. The Bristol Ensemble runs education programmes through its award-winning Preludes projects which delivers classical music to children in primary schools in Bristol, and BeMoreMusical, which runs workshops for adults;

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Recorded at Wyastone Concert Hall, Monmouth 23rd and 24th May 2022
Producers: Sadie Harrison and Ken Blair Balance
Engineer: Ken Blair
Audio Editors: Will Anderson and Ken Blair
Piano: Steinway D, maintained by Philip Kennedy
A bmp production
Booklet notes: © Sadie Harrison
Cover image and design: © Marc Yeats (
All works are published by University of York Music Press
Nightingale sample from
Rehearsal and session photos © Sadie Harrison (6,8,9) & Chris Frazer Smith (3,5,10)
Photos for I kiss the earth; Afghan woman © Veronica Doubleday & Afghan boy © Marie Rose Nicod
Original artwork for Kabul: ‘When I wake at midnight’ © Alina Gawhary 2021
Original artwork The Nightingales of Afghanistan: A Silent Scream © Shajia Azhir 2022
A film by Chris Frazer Smith documenting Pasture & Storm can be found at
Work Songs for the Land (Bonus download track) will be available on itunes and most digital platforms