The Music of Anthony Burgess

    In the two decades since 1996, when he had his first opportunity to view a musical score composed by Anthony Burgess (Symphony No. 3 in C), Paul Phillips has been the world's leading proponent and performer of Burgess's music. In December 1997, Phillips led a pair of performances of that symphony, one at Brown University and the other at MIT – the first since the premiere in October 1975 by the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra under the direction of James Dixon. Phillips has gone on to conduct much more of Burgess's music since then, including the world premieres of the Concerto for Pianoforte and Orchestra, Song for Saint Cecilia’s Day, and A Manchester Overture, and the US premieres of In memoriam Princess Grace, Mr W.S., Mr Burgess’s Almanack, Marche pour une révolution 1789-1989, and Petite Symphonie pour Strasbourg. He conducted the first performances of The Brides of Enderby and The Waste Land since the premieres by the Laurentian Chamber Players in the late 1970s and was musical director for one of the first productions of A Clockwork Orange: A Play with Music using Burgess's complete, original score for his dramatization of his most famous novel. With the Angers Conservatory Orchestra and the dance company Marie-Laure Agrapart et Cie, Phillips conducted the first staged production of Mr W.S., Burgess's Shakespeare ballet, in November 2010 at Théâtre Chanzy in Angers, France. As pianist, Phillips has also performed numerous piano pieces by Burgess, including Wiegenlied and the premiere of Nine Miniatures, several chamber works, and, with his wife, soprano Kathryne Jennings, premiered Burgess's settings of the James Joyce poems "Strings" and "Ecce Puer".

   Phillips's interest extends beyond Burgess's music to the way in which he devoted his life to spinning an intricate creative web of music and literature, as explained in A Clockwork Counterpoint: The Music and Literature of Anthony Burgess, which was published in 2010 and came out in paperback in 2014. Phillips's other publications include the Anthony Burgess entry in the 2nd edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and the essay "Burgess and Music" in the Norton Critical Edition of A Clockwork Orange on the novel's sonata form structure. Phillips discusses Burgess and his music in the BBC television documentary The Burgess Variations, and has lectured widely on the subject in the United Kingdom, France, and the United States.

 

    In order to facilitate performances of the music, Phillips has produced computer-engraved editions of scores and parts of the following compositions by Burgess:

   The Brides of Enderby

   Concerto for Pianoforte and Orchestra

   In memoriam Princess Grace

   A Manchester Overture

   Marche pour une révolution

   Mr Burgess’s Almanack

   Mr W.S.

   Petite Symphonie pour Strasbourg

   Song for Saint Cecilia’s Day

Inquiries about these editions may be directed to Mr. Phillips by contacting him at this link.

 

    The compact disc Anthony Burgess: Orchestral Music (Naxos 8.573472), the first commercially available recording of Burgess's orchestral music, was released in May 2016. The works on the CD are Mr W.S., Marche pour une révolution 1789-1989, and Mr Burgess’s Almanack, all performed by the Brown University Orchestra under Paul Phillips's direction. Other recordings of Burgess's music include:

Burgess: Musique d'un écrivain anglais sur la Riviera / Music of an English Writer on the Riviera.

   Aïghetta Guitar Quartet (L'empreinte Digitale, 1996)

Anthony Burgess: The Man and his Music. John Turner, recorder, and Harvey Davies, piano.

   Music by Anthony Burgess and 15 other composers. (Metier)

The Piano Music of Anthony Burgess. Richard Casey, piano. (Prima Facie Records, 2016)

© 2016 by Paul Phillips. Created with Wix.com

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