Holmside - Symphonic Scenes for Orchestra

Written as an imaginary ballet without any specific story other than what the music may suggest to the listener, Holmside is a series of linked movements that depict the English countryside and the antics of some of the animals one might find there.

The Introduction evokes the pleasantness of the countryside with a pastoral theme first heard on the oboe. The music soon gives way to scurrying squirrels darting around nervously in their search for food. Soon after Mr. Snuffles the badger is seen sniffing and hunting to a slightly jaunty theme that mimics his shuffle. He is unaware that a fox is watching him with intent. The fox makes his presence known with a new and slightly sinister theme but the threat soon dissipates as both of their themes mingle in harmonious counterpoint.

Twilight descends upon the land and the sky is filled with glittering stars and moonlight, a time for contemplation and reflection. The next morning two aged Haflingers, Kizzie and Esther, who recently were witness to a hunt across their field decided they too where young (again), strong and bold galloping horses and proceed to run around in a frenzied game of make believe. Their age gets the better of them and they soon have to rest exhaling a few whinnies but in their minds they are still young mares and off they go into the distance.

After a pastoral ode that pays homage to nature's majestic beauty comes the three very naughty cats. Tilly is the sweet good natured one, Barney is the young lad always up for adventure and Tinker is the oldest and wisest. Each cat has their own theme and the movement is an interplay of all three combined and developed. The 'Plake' is a pond so big that it might be a lake, who knows. It's a quiet place to sit and retreat from reality.

Finally it's time for the birds to make an appearance. After an introduction derived from the countryside theme at the beginning of the piece comes the small skittish birds, wood pigeons, the noisy pheasant and worst of all, the chaotic ducks who have their own quacking march. These bird themes are often interjected with more developments of the countryside theme.

At the end, the bird themes are combined with the opening countryside theme in a harmonious climax. In true ballet style there then follows a roll-call of all the main characters in quick succession, with their music being developed and sometimes combined even further still before a final brief, joyous and energetic coda brings the music to its conclusion.

1 - The Countryside.
2'50" 2 - Squirrels.
3.40" 3 - Mr. Snuffles the Badger and the Fox.
9'04" 4 - Twilight, Moonlight and Stars.
13'18" 5 - Kizzy and Esther's Gallop.
16'46" 6 - Pastoral Ode.
19'54" 7 - The Three Cats (Tilly, Barney and Tinker).
25'23" 8 - The Plake.
28'26" 9 - Finale with Birds.

Please note that the score is unfinished as of yet.