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Gavin Bryars

Born: 1943. Living in: England

Richard Gavin Bryars is an English composer and double bassist. He has been active in (or has produced works in) many varied styles of music, including jazz, free improvisation, minimalism experimental music, avant-garde, neoclassicism, and ambient.

Born in Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire, England, Bryars initially studied philosophy at Sheffield University before studying music for three years.

The first musical work for which is he remembered was his role as bassist in the trio Joseph Holbrooke, alongside guitarist Derek Bailey and drummer Tony Oxley. The trio began by playing relatively traditional jazz before moving into free improvisation. However, Bryars became dissatified with this when he saw a young bassist (later revealed to be Johnny Dyani) play in a manner which seemed to him to be artificial, and he became interested in composition instead.

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Arrangements | Recordings

Songbooks, Arrangements and/or Media

Displaying 1-9 of 9 items.


Gavin Bryars : Glorious Hill : SATB : Songbook : 884088869953 : 49030538

Gavin Bryars : Glorious Hill

Glorious Hill was commissioned by the Hilliard Ensemble and first performed by them at its summer Festival of Voices in England. The title, Glorious Hill comes from the name of the small-town Mississippi setting of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke.

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Voicing: SATB | 7554b | Songbook | $5.50 | A Cappella


Gavin Bryars : First Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male Voices : TTBB : Songbook : 073999236279 : 49003319

Gavin Bryars : First Book of Madrigals - For Unaccompanied Male Voices

These Madrigals were written especially for the Hilliard Ensemble with who Gavin Bryars has worked for many years. The texts are by the poet and writer Blake Morrison.

Songlist: Web, Stormy, Almond Tree, Just As The Ash-Glow`, Within Minutes, Our Bodies In The Shower, She'd Buy Things, All The Homely Arts And Crafts, In April, Who's The More To Blame, The Print Of Soles, My Pomegranate, Against Dieting

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Voicing: TTBB | 9194b | Songbook | $19.95 | A Cappella


Gavin Bryars : Five Songs from Northern Seas : Solo : Songbook : 884088907341 : 49019073

Gavin Bryars : Five Songs from Northern Seas

Texts by Scottish poet George Bruce, including: The Fisherman; A Departure; The Helmsman; The Seaman, an Epilogue; Old Man and Sea.

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Voicing: Solo | 10997b | Songbook | $35.95


Gavin Bryars : St. Brendan Arrives at the Promised Land of the Saints : SATB : Songbook : 884088888893 : 49019211

Gavin Bryars : St. Brendan Arrives at the Promised Land of the Saints

For SATB choir, organ and obligato violin. Anonymous text traslated by John J. O'Meara in The Voyage of St. Brendan. Choral score, English.

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Voicing: SATB | 11087b | Songbook | $10.95


Gavin Bryars : On Photography : SATB : Songbook : 884088566746 : 49016753

Gavin Bryars : On Photography

One of Gavin Bryars' early major choral works, On Photography uses texts by Pope Leo XIII combining a modern subject matter (photography) and archaic language (Latin) with music of timeless beauty. This title is accompanied by a harmonium/piano part (49019236).

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Voicing: SATB | 40341b | Songbook | $15.95


Gavin Bryars : Edwin Morgan Sonnets : TTBB : Songbook : 884088953508 : 49019250

Gavin Bryars : Edwin Morgan Sonnets

For the first piece that I wrote for the Estonian National Men's Choir (RAM) in 2006 I set Silva Caledonia, one of 40 Sonnets from Scotland by the Scottish poet Edwin Morgan, and in 2008 I added two more. Edwin Morgan was a very fine poet indeed, a virtuoso in all the forms he used, and was the Scottish Poet Laureate (he died in 2010). All these sonnets follow faithfully the sonnet's defining 14 line format and are based in structure on the sonnets of Petrarch. I have set a number of Petrarch sonnets for my second and fourth books of madrigals and, just like Petrarch, Edwin Morgan breaks the 14 lines in two parts - an 'octave' and a 'sestet', contrasting the two parts rhythmically and with a rhyme scheme as 2x4 and 2x3. Memento and The Summons, the other two pieces in this collection, draw on the experience of having worked with the choir. All three pieces are dedicated to RAM and to its conductor, my friend Kaspars Putnins. Gavin Bryars, 2012. Contents: Silva Caledonia - Memento - The Summons.

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Voicing: TTBB | 40393b | Songbook | $8.95


Gavin Bryars : Edwin Morgan Sonnets : TTBB : Songbook : 884088953515 : 49019252

Gavin Bryars : Edwin Morgan Sonnets

These two sonnet settings, in much simpler forms than here, were originally part of my piano concerto. The presence of a male chorus within the concerto represents a kind of homage to Busoni, a composer whom I have always admired and whose piano concerto has a men's chorus in the last movement. I had used a chorus of Russian bass voices in my double bass concerto, so there is precedence within my own work. My choice of the poetry of the great Scottish poet Edwin Morgan alludes to my other work with male choirs, having already set six of his Sonnets from Scotland by this time. The two sonnets are heard in their entirety in the concerto, and one of them - The Solway Canal - gives a subtitle to the concerto, just as Kukol'nik's Farewell to St Petersburg gives a subtitle to the double bass concerto. Gavin Bryars, 2012. Contents: The Solway Canal - A Place of Many Waters.

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Voicing: TTBB | 40394b | Songbook | $6.95


Gavin Bryars : Laude Cortonese, Vol. 5 : TTBB : Songbook : 884088917227 : 49019460

Gavin Bryars : Laude Cortonese, Vol. 5

Contents: Lauda 31 (Omne homo) - Lauda 32 (Ogn'om canti).

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Voicing: TTBB | 40395b | Songbook | $9.95


Gavin Bryars : Two Love Songs : SSA : Songbook : 888680089511 : 49044562

Gavin Bryars : Two Love Songs

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Voicing: SSA | 40396b | Songbook | $6.95

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