Rave Reviews for Symphony
June 2018: Some reviews of the first performance of my Symphony ...
'His new contribution to the genre, receiving its world premiere in this concert, appeared to draw upon the wit and concentration of Haydn, the neo-classical elegance of Stravinsky and, in its pounding C in the basses, the driving force of Tippett. Overriding any such embracing of the symphonic heritage, however, was a refreshing individuality that is the mark of a fully-fledged creative artist ... In its breezy ecclecticism, Hyde's new Symphony ranges, hawk-like, over the entire symphonic tradition and reinvigorates it with a refreshingly quirkly approach to structure and notably limpid, uncluttered textures. There was a distinct feeling that the audience was witnessing the confident and ground-preparing first in a cycle rather than a one-off experiment. I look forward to the composer's Second Symphony with eager anticipation'
(Paul Conway, Musical Opinion Quarterly, July 2018)
'... Thomas Hyde's Symphony was a world premiere and the most immediately arresting of the evening's pieces, its drama punctuated by congas and bongos, glissando trombones and some highly original writing for the strings'
(The Herald, March 2018)
'... driven by a gravitational relevance and personal belief.'
(The Scotsman, March 2018)
Symphony to be premiered by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow
February 2018: I have finally managed to complete a Symphony for orchestra which will be premiered by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Geoffrey Paterson on Saturday 10 March in City Halls, Glasgow. The performance will be recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3. The work is in one movement and lasts just under 20 minutes. Though it contains a slow 'movement', scherzo, trio and coda, they don't (as Eric Morcambe said to Andre Previn) come 'necessarily in the right order'. In fact, the Symphony opens with its final cadence, that in failing to achieve a satisfactory downbeat forces the music to reassemble itself over the course of its remaining 18 minutes. Basically, it is like a plane going down the runway, failing to take off and shunting itself back to the terminal building before heading back down the runway and finally taking wing. Somewhere at the back of my mind were those wonderful landscape paintings by Peter Lanyon, taken from a glider. I think that might be a helpful image in relation to the symphony. I think I am going over the same ground as all previous symphony composers since Haydn, but this time by air rather than horse and carriage.
Five Star Reviews for CD release of 'That Man Stephen Ward'
December 2017: The new recording of 'That Man Stephen Ward' on Resonus Classics has recieved widespread media coverage. Before its release, I was interviewed with baritone Damian Thantrey on BBC Radio 4's 'Today' Programme to talk about the Profumo Scandal and why I made it into an opera. This month, the disc was reviewed on Radio 3's 'Record Review' by Andrew McGregor and Tom McKinney who found it "Captivating, Ingenious, Funny, Surprising, Poignant". Here are some other reviews:
'This is the most impressive and genuinely exciting work by a young British composer I have heard in years. It is, I have no hesitation in declaring, a genuinely original masterpiece – an utterly compelling piece of serious art-music ...'
(Robert Matthew-Walker, ClassicalSource.com)
(Tim Ashley, Gramophone Magazine)
'This is a striking and important work, though you cannot help but wish for a DVD. George Vass gets a fine performance from the Nova Music Ensemble, but buy it for the towering performance from Damian Thantrey.'
'That Man Stephen Ward' released on disc by Resonus Classics
September 2017 My one-man opera, That Man Stephen Ward has been released on CD by Resonus Classics. The recording was made following the Nova Music Opera production of the work last year and features Damian Thantrey in the title (but not only!) role, with George Vass conducting. You can buy the disc via this link.
'Lovely Joan' in Presteigne
August 2017 I am one of eight composers commissioned by the Presteigne Festival to produce a variation for string orchestra on the folk tune 'Lovely Joan'. In fact, I have provided an introduction, theme and 'tema elaborata'. The other composers are David Matthews, Adrian Williams, Michael Berkeley, Christopher Gunning, Huw Watkins, Sally Beamish and Matthew Taylor. The new work will be premiered by the festival orchestra, conducted by George Vass on 25 August 2017.
Opera feature on BBC Radio 4 'Today' Programme
July 2017 I will talking on BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme on 31 July about my opera 'That Man Stephen Ward' ahead of its release on disc. You can listen to the feature via the BBC iplayer following this link. The interview is at 2.48.20.
Associate of the Royal Academy of Music
March 2017: I am honoured to have been appointed an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. Any concern that my inclusion suggests a barrel has been scraped must be off-set by the names of wonderful colleagues also listed.
New Works for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and The Sixteeen in 2017/18
January 2017: I am currently working on an orchestral piece for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. The work is due to be premiered in March 2018 and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. More details to follow. I am also composing a new setting of the Magnificat for The Sixteen commissioned by the Concertgebouw Brugge to be premiered in November 2017 conducted by The Sixteen's Associate Conductor, Eamonn Dougan. Later in 2018 my comedy overture about Les Dawson will be premiered by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
York Conference on Church Music 2017
October 2016: I will be giving a lecture at the York Conference on Church Music in February 2017. My talk grows out of my on-going research project on the music of the Welsh composer William Mathias, whose biography I am in the process of completing. Further information is available via this link.
Lectureship at King's College London
September 2016: I am delighted to have been appointed to a Teaching Fellowship at Kings College London where I will be teaching various analysis and techniques of composition modules. The role is a 0.5 position and I will be combining it with an on-going relationship with Worcester College, Oxford where I will become a Senior non-stipendiary Lecturer from September.
'Orpheus with his lute' reviewed
July 2016: My short Shakespeare setting 'Orpheus with his lute' is being peformed thus summer by Commotio and at the Presteigne Festival in August. The recent score, published by Novello, has been reviewed by Geoffrey Webber in the new issue of 'Choir & Organ Magazine'. Webber wrote, 'Hyde prioritises communication of the text in a direct manner and the work is only two minutes long, but here the style is a perfect recreation of the mid/late 20th-century English partsong'. That's nice.
'That Man Stephen Ward' comes to LSO St Luke's
May 2016: The acclaimed Nova Music Opera production of 'That Man Stephen Ward' comes to London on 17 June for a performance at LSO St Luke's with Damian Thantrey in the title role. Tickets are available from here. The work will be recorded for future release on Resonus Classics.
'Orpheus with his lute' published by Novello
March 2016: Last year I was commissioned to write a short choral work in memory of John McCabe. 'Orpheus with his lute' is a setting of Shakespeare for unaccompanied SATB choir. The score has now been published by Novello. If you are looking for a simple, modern short setting of Shaespeare this year, then copies are available via this link. You can view the score via the Music Sales Choral Binder 2016.
New Piano Trio for the Aquinas Piano Trio
January 2016: I have enjoyed a long-standing working relationship with the Aquinas Piano Trio who regularly have programmed by short piece for piano trio, 'Three Dancers', which is based on a painting by Picasso. I have now added two new movements to this miniature, also based on Picasso's work. The complete three-movement trio will be premiered on 13 March 2016 at Kings Place. Tickets available by following this link.
Lecture at Bangor University
January 2016: I shall be giving a lectureon my music at Bangor University on 2 February 2016 as part of the Music Department's Public Research Seminars. I shall be discussing my recent setting of the O Antiphons.
O Antiphons - a creative journey in Knightsbridge
October 2015: I am currently at work on a setting of the seven 'O Antiphons' which are the Magnificat antiphons used at Vespers on the last seven days of Advent. The new work has been commissioned by St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge, and is scored for soloists, SATB choir and organ. However, it is also a collaboration with dance, and I am working closely with choreographer Hubert Essakow. The premiere will be in the church on 29 November. More information about the creative journey can be found here, along with a series of documentary films by Liz Smith of EntertainingTV. The final performance will also be filmed for future release.
'En Bethlehem' - New Carol Anthology from Cadenza Music
August 2015: Hot off the press is a new anthology of 22 contemporary carols called 'En Bethlehem'. It is published by Cadenza Music and edited by David Wordsworth. It features my carol, 'Tomorrow shall be my dancing day' for SSA choir and organ. Also are works by several friends including, Phillip Cooke, Gordon Crosse, Joseph Davies, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Rob Keeley, David Knotts, Cecilia McDowall and Deborah Pritchard. Follow this link to buy a copy of this volume that will satisfy all your contemporary wassailing needs.
Critics praise Nova Music Opera's new production of 'That Man Stephen Ward'
July 2015: Nova Music Opera's new production of 'That Man Stephen Ward' opened on 6 July at the Cheltenham Festival. Richard Williams was the director, and George Vass conducted.
Richard Morrison in The Times praised Damian Thantrey's portrayal of the title role,
'... he brilliantly catptures Ward's mixture of faux-poshness, camp bonhomie, oily obsequiousness and deep insecurity.
He speaks and sings over a score that deftly conjures up the songs and dances of the era but also has an apt, brittle edge.'
Roger Jones in Seen & Heard International said,
'Ward's tragic death has spawned countless articles and books - even a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. But I'm
not sure that any come as close to the heart of the matter as 'That Man Stephen Ward' composed by Thomas Hyde in a
libretto by David Norris ... Damian Thantrey's performance as Ward is electrifying; if I see acting of such depth and power
again this year, I shall be both surprised and delighted.'
And Rian Evans reviewed the performance in The Guardian,
'Hyde's one-man/multiple-persona show is brilliantly sustained by baritone Damian Thantrey, supported by actors
miming John Profumo, Yevgeny Ivanov and Christine Keeler. The injection of a cabaret-style lightness, emphasising Ward
as the scapegoat of this high-life/low-life affair, was perceived in despairing flashbacks as he was reduced to suicide.'
New Production of 'That Man Stephen Ward' to open at the Cheltenham Festival
April 2015: I am delighted that Nova Music Opera is to mount a new production of my opera, 'That Man Stephen Ward'. Damian Thantrey will take the title role and Richard Williams directs. This new production is part of a double-bill with Charlotte Bray's new opera, 'Entanglement'. The production opens at the Cheltenham Festival on 6 July 2015 and tickets are available via this link. It then moves to the Presteigne Festival in August. Further performances will be announced shortly.
Serenade in A - Premiere performances in March
February 2015: My latest piece is a Serenade in A, a sequence of five movements for an ensemble of ten instruments (single wind and strings) or small orchestra. It was commissioned by private patrons with financial assistance from the Royal Academy of Music and the RVW Trust. The first performances will be given on 14 March at the Royal Academy of Music by the Junior RAM Ensemble and then another performance two days later on 17 March by the Orchestra of the London School of Economics. Both performances will be conducted by my composer friend Matthew Taylor.
Maxwell Quartet perform Hyde at PLG New Year Series
January 2015: The Maxwell Quartet gave a stunning performance of my String Quartet at the Purcell Room, London on 5 January as part of the Park Lane Group Young Artists New Year Series. Reviewing the concert, Guy Dammann wrote in The Guardian, "The Maxwells gave a clear and impassioned reading alive to the score's delicate lyricism and need for metrical control." I am greatly looking forward to continuing my collaboration with this fine group of players. You can read the full Guardian review here.
O Antiphons: 2014 and Beyond ...
November 2014: I have just finished a setting of 'O Oriens', one of the great Advent antiphon texts. The work is for unaccompanied SATB choir and has been written for the choir of St Paul's Knightsbridge, and their organist Stephen Farr, and will be sung at the church during Solemn Eucharist on, suitably, the 21 December. Full sets of all the O Antiphons are rare, so I am keen to compose some more.
Jennifer Pike premieres Violin Sonata
October 2014: On 3 October the internationally celebrated violinist Jennifer Pike gave the first performance of my new sonata at the Little Missenden Festival. She was accompanied by Tom Poster. This three-movement work was inspired by Philippe Petit's famous tightrope walk between the Twin Towers in New York in 1974. I wrote about the piece in an article for Musical Opinion (October 2014). Jennifer Pike will give the work's second performance at the Holywell Music Room in Oxford on 29 November with pianist Peter Limonov.
Presteigne Festival Talks
August 2014: I will be hosting two talks at this year's Presteigne Festival. On Saturday 23 August I will be interviewing Polish composer Pawel Lukaszewski about his life and music, including his Piano Trio. Then on Monday 25 August I will be in discussion with composers Hilary Tann and Paul Patterson. Further details about the festival are to be found at the Presteigne Festival website.
'David Matthews: Essays, Tributes and Criticism' published by Plumbago Books
May 2014: My new book on the composer David Matthews is now available. The volume is published by Plumbago Books and distributed through Boydell & Bewer. It consists of a selection of Matthews's essays and a series of articles about his music from writers including Colin Matthews, Roger Scruton, Edward Venn, Arnold Whittall and Hugh Wood. There are also a series of tributes from various figures associated with Matthews's career including Robin Holloway, John McCabe, Paul McCartney, Peter Sculthorpe and Judith Weir. I have edited Matthews's writings and also contributed a chapter. Available in both hardback and paperback. Further information here.
Lectureship at Lady Margaret Hall and Brasenose College, Oxford
April 2014: I am delighted to have been appointed to a joint Lectureship in Music at Lady Margaret Hall and Brasenose College, Oxford from April 2014. I am greatly looking forward to working with the students at both colleges.
'As a Lily Among Thorns' performed by The Sixteen
February 2014: The motet for unaccompanied choir, 'As a lily among thorns' will be performed at the Ealing Music & Film Festival on 16 February by the internationally acclaimed choir The Sixteen, conducted by their Associate conductor, Eamonn Dougan. Further details are available here.
Collaboration with Jennifer Pike
January 2014: I am completing a major new work for violin and piano, composed for (and dedicated to) the violinist Jennifer Pike. The three-movement sonata takes its initial inspiration from Philippe Petit’s famous tightrope walk between the Twin Towers, though the resulting work is 'not exactly programmatic'. The first movement is a 'construction piece' of various industrial bangs and thuds; the central move,ment is, by contrast, a high lyrical melody, and the finale is a joyful post-adrenalin rush. The premiere is due on 3 October 2014. More details to follow!
'Pretending to be Me': Lectures at Cardiff University and the Royal Academy of Music
November 2013: I will be talking about my music in two forthcoming lectures at Cardiff University on 10 December, and in a postgraduate composition seminar at the Royal Academy of Music, London on 17th January 2014.
Benjamin Britten's Canticles: Lecture at Aberdeen University
November 2013: I will be presenting a lecture, entitled 'Benjamin Britten's Canticles: Christian Perspectives and Ideas' at Aberdeen University as part of their Britten Study day on 22 November 2013.
'Three Greek Women, Observed' to be premiered at the Presteigne Festival 2013
May 2013: A new work, 'Three Greek Women, Observed' will be premiered at the Presteigne Festival on 26 August 2013 by soprano Helen-Jane Howells and festival soloists. The new work sets texts by Ted Hughes for soprano, harp and 5 players. I talk about the new work in a short video feature.
New Commissions for 2013
January 2013: Several new works have been commissioned for performance in 2013. An anthem, 'May the Grace of Christ our Saviour' sets a short text by John Newton (1725-1807) and is scored for SATB choir and organ. The piece has been commissioned by St Mary's Cathedral, Middlesbrough to celebrate the second anniversary of the foundation of their new choirs. A major new piece for soprano and ensemble has been commissioned by the Presteigne Festival and will be premiered in August by soprano Helen-Jane Howells.
5 star reviews for recent CD releases
December 2012: In October Guild Records released 'Autumnal - Chamber Music by Thomas Hyde' featuring seven instrumental and chamber works, including the String Quartet and Second Suite for solo Cello. Musical Opinion gave it a 5 star review stating, 'This is modern music that does not insult either listeners or performers.' Richard Whitehouse in the December issue of International Record Review wrote, 'A fine introduction, then, to a composer of whom it is to be hoped that Guild will follow up with another release at the earliest opportunity.'
Meanwhile, Resonus's Christmas album, 'This Christmas Night' (RES10113) featuring two Hyde pieces: the carol 'Sweet was the Song' and the organ solo 'Improvisation on Puer natus' has been widely reviewed, gaining 5 stars in both the Daily Telegraph and BBC Music Magazine - the latter choosing it as its Christmas Choice. Gramophone reviewer Marc Rochester singled out 'Sweet was the Song' as 'among the more attractive carols of recent years.'
'Playing with Chants': New Article published
November 2012: My new essay has just been published by Organ Magazine. Entitled 'Playing with Chants' it discusses issues around composing for the organ and his work 'Suite on Plainchant Themes'. You can read an extract by following this link. A new organ miniature, 'Hast du denn, Jesu, dein Angesicht' was premiered by William Whitehead at the Festival Toulouse les Orgues in France on 18 October 2012. The work is part of William Whitehead's ongoing Orgelbüchlein Project.
'Sweet was the Song' & 'Improvisation on Puer natus' out now on Resonus Classics
October 2012: Two works, the carol 'Sweet was the Song' for unaccompanied choir and the organ solo 'Improvisation on Puer natus' have been released on Resonus Classics as part of an album, 'This Christmas Night' performed by the choir of Worcester College, Oxford with organist Stephen Farr. Launched in 2011, Resonus Classics is the world's first soley digital classical label. The album of contemporary Christmas choral and organ music also features works by John McCabe, Gabriel Jackson and Peter Maxwell Davies.
Guild Records release 'Autumnal - Chamber Music by Thomas Hyde'
October 2012: Guild Records have released the first commercial recording devoted to Thomas Hyde's chamber music. The CD includes the String Quartet, Autumnal, Second Suite for solo Cello, Winter Music, Birthday Song, Nocturnes and Three Dancers. Performers include the Aquinas Piano Trio, cellist Katherine Jenkinson, violist Edward Vanderspar, pianist Evelina Puzaite and the Iuventus Quartet. To listen to extracts and to buy a copy follow this link.
Two new choral works published by Novello
August 2011: Two works for unaccompanied choir, the carol 'Sweet was the Song' and the wedding anthem 'As a lily among thorns' have been published by Novello as part of their 'New Choral' series.