Programme notes

I have written programme notes for a range of contemporary and 20th-century pieces, and I’m always interested in writing more – it’s one of my favourite forms of writing, trying to crystallise the background, form and content of a piece in a way that is both approachable and interesting. And often for an audience who haven’t heard the music before!

If you would like me to write notes for your concert, no matter how long or short, please get in touch at timrutherfordjohnson AT gmail DOT com.

A full list of the pieces for which I have written notes appears below. Many of these notes are available for reprint or adaptation; please email me if you are interested in using any for your concert.

Aa, Michel van der 

  • Clarinet Concerto, ‘Hysteresis’
  • Up-close

Adams, John

  • Chamber Symphony
  • Doctor Atomic Symphony

Andriessen, Louis

  • Hoketus
  • De Staat
  • Tapdance

Antheil, George

  • Symphony no.5, ‘Joyous’

Bacewicz, Grażyna

  • Concerto for Strings

Bartók, Béla

  • Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
  • Three Village Scenes

Birtwistle, Harrison

  • The Axe Manual
  • Virelai (Sus une fontayne)

Boulez, Pierre

  • Le marteau sans maître

Brennan, Patrick

  • new work for Piano Circus and Juice

Bryars, Gavin

  • String Quartet no.2

Campbell, Ewan

  • Three Glimpses

Carpenter, John Alden

  • Krazy Kat

Clyne, Anna

  • Secret Garden
  • The Seamstress

Crane, Laurence

  • Guitar Prelude

Cutler, Joe

  • Guitar Music

Davies, Tansy

  • neon

Debussy, Claude

  • Danse sacrée et danse profane
  • Études

Dessner, Bryce

  • Tenebre

Deutsch, Bernd Richard

  • Mad Dog
  • Red Alert! (from Dr Futurity)

Dillon, James

  • La navette

Eötvös, Peter

  • Derwischtanz
  • IMA
  • Levitation
  • Paris-Dakar
  • Psalm 151
  • Psychokosmos
  • Sonata per sei
  • Violin Concerto, ‘DoReMi’
  • zeroPoints

Fardon, Daniel-Lewis

  • Flux

Finnis, Edmund

  • Frame/Refrain
  • in situ

Fitkin, Graham

  • LogLine, and Loud

Giguère, Patrick

  • l’heure de s’enivrer

Glass, Philip

  • Four Movements for Two Pianos
  • Mad Rush
  • Music in Twelve Parts
  • String Quartet no.1
  • String Quartet no.2, ‘Company’
  • String Quartet no.3, ‘Mishima’
  • String Quartet no.4, ‘Buczak’
  • String Quartet no.5
  • Symphony no.3

Haas, Georg Friedrich

  • Morgen und Abend

Jackson, Gabriel

  • Fantasy with Anniversary Chorale

Johnson, Evan

  • L’art de toucher le clavecin, 3

Johnston, Ben

  • String Quartet no.4

Kang, Sukhi

  • Mutatio perpetua

Karikis, Mikhail

  • 102 Years Out Of Synch

Kurtág, György

  • … concertante …
  • Hipartita
  • Játékok

Lang, David

  • world to come

Larcher, Thomas

  • Double Concerto
  • Violin Concerto

Ligeti, György

  • Chamber Concerto
  • Concerto Romanesc
  • Double Concerto
  • Ejszka-Reggel
  • Piano Études
  • Hamburg Concerto
  • Lontano
  • Lux aeterna
  • Melodien
  • String Quartet no.1 ‘Métamorphoses nocturnes’
  • String Quartet no.2

Lim, Liza

  • Speak, Be Silent

Lutosławski, Witold

  • Bukoliki
  • Dance Preludes
  • Epitaph
  • Fanfare for CUBE
  • Grave. Metamorphoses
  • Mini Overture
  • Partita
  • String Quartet
  • Subito
  • Symphony no.3
  • Two Studies

Maric, Dave

  • Trilogy

Martland, Steve

  • Horses of Instruction
  • Starry Night

Mazzoli, Missy

  • Violent, Violent Sea

Messiaen, Olivier

  • Cantéyodjayâ
  • Île de feu I and II

Metcalfe, John

  • Three Pieces
  • Fairlight

Molitor, Claudia

  • zuhanden

Monk, Meredith

  • Three Heavens and Hells
  • Volcano Songs


  • Various works

Moreira, Daniel

  • Miniature Variations

Morgan-Williams, Bethan

  • Scoot

Muhly, Nico

  • Cello Concerto
  • Diacritical Marks

Nancarrow, Conlon

  • String Quartet no.1
  • String Quartet no.3

Nancarrow, Conlon (arr. Paul Usher)

  • Player Piano Study no.33 for string quartet

Oliveros, Pauline

  • David Tudor
  • Klickitat Ride
  • Noise – Silence
  • One Sound Once
  • Pebble Music
  • Piano Piano
  • Quintessential
  • Rock Piece
  • The Witness
  • Word Sound

Pallett, Owen

  • Violin Concerto

Parsons, Michael

  • Air and Variation

Pärt, Arvo

  • Fratres
  • Silouans Song
  • Tabula rasa

Penderecki, Krzysztof

  • Concerto grosso


  • Viderunt omnes

Pritchard, Deborah

  • The Angel Standing in the Sun
  • Wall of Water

Prokofiev, Sergey

  • Peter and the Wolf

Reich, Steve

  • Clapping Music
  • Come Out
  • Different Trains
  • Mallet Quartet
  • Music for 18 Musicians
  • Music for Pieces of Wood
  • Pendulum Music
  • Quartet
  • Sextet

Richter, Max

  • Infra 8
  • Take these broken wings

Roussel, Albert

  • String Quartet in D, op.45

Saunders, Rebecca

  • a visible trace

Saxton, Robert

  • The Resurrection of the Soldiers

Schnittke, Alfred

  • Concerto Grosso no.1

Schöllhorn, Johannes

  • Fantasia

Sheen, Jack

  • Lung

Sheng, Bright

  • Violin Concerto, ‘Let Fly’

Souleyman, Omar (arr. Jacob Garchik)

  • I’ll Prevent the Hunters From Hunting You for string quartet

Stevens, Sufjan (arr. various)

  • Run Rabbit Run

Stockhausen, Karlheinz

  • Gesang der Jünglinge
  • Kontakte

Szymanowski, Karol

  • Mazurkas, op.50
  • String Quartet no.1

Takemitsu, Tōru

  • Rain Coming
  • Requiem

Talbot, Joby

  • Utopia, Dead Space, Polarisation

Taplin, Michael

  • Ebbing Tides

Thorvaldsdottír, Anna

Tüür, Erkki-Sven

  • Show (Action Passion Illusion)

Varèse, Edgard

  • Octandre

Volans, Kevin

  • String Quartet no.2, ‘Hunting: Gathering’

Webern, Anton

  • Passacaglia

Weill, Kurt

  • Three Songs (‘Le grand Lustucru’, ‘Surabaya Johnny’, ‘Ballad of Sexual Slavery’)

Young, Nina C.

  • Traced upon Cinders

Yun, Isang

  • Piece concertante
  • Teile dich Nacht

Zivkovic, Djuro

  • On the Guarding of the Heart

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