All Works | Works | Tansy Davies | Composer

All Works

Wild Card

2010
A fascination for the Tarot has led me to explore its labyrinths, in a musical adventure loosely based on the ‘Fool’s Journey’, a metaphor for the journey through life, as depicted by the images and archetypes found in a Tarot pack.

Duration: 24 minutes
Commissioned by the BBC.
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Tilting

2005
The orchestra in ‘Tilting’ is like a very large building with its own natural distortions.

Duration: 7 minutes
Commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra.
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kingpin

2007
‘Kingpin’, the strong and trustworthy heart of a machine... Not a vision of gleaming steel and laser precision, but one of grey steam and black oil, metal teeth spinning and biting, and power forced out through circular motion.

Duration: 6 minutes 
Commissioned for the City of London Sinfonia by Medway Council with funds from Arts Council England, South East.
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Streamlines

2006
The beginning of ‘Streamlines’ is like a ‘point of arrest’ where a sudden growth spurt appears from nowhere and a line starts to emerge.
   
Duration: 10 minutes 
Commissioned by CBSO Youth Orchestra with funds from the Feeney Trust.
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The Beginning of the World

2013
A variation on Sellinger's Round, an Elizabethan theme.

Duration: 5 minutes
Commissioned by the BBC.
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Re-greening

2015
Endless refrains, woven out of intricate, interconnecting segments, combine to form a kind of musical forest, in a celebration of Spring.

Duration: 9 minutes 
Commissioned by the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain
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Forest

2017
Duration: 20 minutes  
Commissioned by Esa-Pekka Salonen for the Philharmonia Orchestra's 70th Anniversary; New York Philharmonic: Alan Gilbert, Music Director & International Festival of Contemporary Music for Warsaw Autumn’s 60th Anniversary. The piece is dedicated to Esa-Pekka Salonen.
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Spiral House

2004
The solo trumpet (and its accompanying group of orchestral trumpets, oboes and clarinet) are like the concrete floor plate, spiralling up between the glass walls of the orchestra and being reflected in their surfaces. 
  
Duration: 22 minutes 
Commissioned by the BBC.
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Residuum

2005
‘Residuum’ is an imaginary replay of the residual energy of Dowland’s ‘Galliard to Lachrymae’, heard like an echo of ancient music in a modern time.

Duration: 10 minutes 
Commissioned by the Orchestra of the Swan to celebrate the centenary of Sir Michael Tippett, funded by the Arts Council of England.
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Falling Angel

2006
The starting point for this piece was the painting ‘Falling Angel’ by the German artist Anselm Kiefer.

Duration: 17 minutes
Commissioned by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group with financial assistance from Arts Council England, West Midlands and BCMG's Sound Investment Scheme
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spine

2005
spine begins in darkness as the first cells of musical material begin to develop as very soft sounds. Then follows a ‘hardening’ of the sound world when the first of many dances for harp cimbalom disturbs the opening.

Duration: 9 minutes
Commissioned by the Aldeburgh Festival
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Adorned

2008
Three violin groups: Hardanger and Shetland fiddlers and classical players, together with a 'bass group' of bass clarinet, viola, cello and double bass, and a continuo part for the cimbalom. 

Duration: 10 minutes
Commissioned by the Sage Gateshead in collaboration with Stavanger 2008, European Capital of Culture.
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Antenoux

2017
for a mixed chamber ensemble of 10 players.

Duration: 5 mins
Commissioned by Crash Ensemble with funds provided by The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.

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Nature

2012
“The gait of power is for running at night, and it is completely safe. This is the night! And it is power! At night the world is different.

Duration: 20 minutes
Commissioned by BCMG and the Oslo Sinfonietta. BCMG commission funds provided by Arts Council England, the Britten-Pears Foundation and BCMG’s Sound Investment Scheme.
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Iris

2004
The role of the soloist in ‘Iris’ is like that of a shaman, or ‘one who walks between the worlds’. A shaman must travel through ‘lower and ‘higher’ realms of subconscious reality in order to perform his or her work.

Duration: 15 minutes
Created through the London Sinfonietta’s Blue Touch Paper scheme, supported by the Gulbenkian Foundation.
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The Second Key

2011 (rev. 2016)
Text by Guilhelm IX d’Aquitane, 1071-1127 (translated by Mariette Purcell) 

Duration: 8 1/2 minutes
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Feather and Groove

2008 (rev. 2015)
a work for mixed ensemble of mixed ability, for 6 to 20 players, with semi-open scoring

Duration: 5 1/2 minutes
Commissioned by CoMA with funds from the Performing Rights Society Foundation, the Arts Council of England London and subscribers to CoMA's Commissioning Scheme.
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neon

2004
A collage of twisted modernist funk. 
 
Duration: 10 minutes
Commissioned by the Composers Ensemble.
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salt box

2005
salt box was the name given to a wooden box used on battleships, to hold ammunition cartridges, and to keep them dry.

Duration: 11 minutes
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grind show (electric)

2007
grind show (electric) is an imaginary journey into the heart of a painting by Goya - the Pilgrimage of St Isadore.

Duration: 6 minutes
Commissioned by Integra for Bit20.
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grind show (unplugged)

2008
The action takes place in a house on a hill, somewhere in Goya’s dark and bleak landscape.

Duration: 6 minutes 
Commissioned by Integra for Bit20.
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inside out 2

2003
Short brittle sounds, and long soft sounds are woven into a tapestry of broken patterns, cycles and grooves, all moving at slightly different speeds. 

Duration: 6 minutes
Commissioned by the Bergamo Ensemble.
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Aquatic

2011
This piece was born of a fascination for the amazing creatures, preserved as fossils, in the Burgess Shale Formation – located in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia.

Duo for Cor Anglais and Percussion.
Duration: 10 minutes
Commissioned by NEW NOISE New Noise (Janey Miller and Joby Burgess) with funds from the PRS for Music Foundation and the RVW Trust.
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Delphic Bee

2012
Apparently the oracles at Delphi were delivered in a frenzied state, induced by vapours rising from a chasm in the rock of the cave in which the responses were given.

Duration: 10 minutes
Commissioned by the City of London Festival for its 50th anniversary, with the support of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
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Song of Pure Nothingness

2012
The text for this song dates from 11th Century France and is one of the most well known poems by troubadour Guillaum IX D'Aquitane. The title in original Occitane, is Farai Un Vers De Dreyt Nien.

Duration: 13 minutes
Commissioned by Kenneth Karlsson & Elizabeth Holmertz with funds from the Norwegian Arts Council.
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Undertow

1999
Undertows are deceptive... There are moments when the surface turns suddenly smooth and glistening others when the nature and speed of the main current switches.

Duration: 6 minutes
Commissioned by the CHROMA Ensemble.
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make black white

2004
A reconstruction of Dowland’s Galliard to Lachrimae. 

Duration: 5 minutes 
Commissioned by Cheltenham Festival. 
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Forgotten Game 2

2009
The oboist plays the role of a faun accompanying the growth of a tree.

Oboe & Piano
Duration: 6 minutes
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Arabescos

2002
Inspired by Arabic patterns.

Oboe & Piano
Duration: 8 minutes
Commissioned by Nicholas Daniel.
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Small Black Stone

2000
Inspired by a poem of the same name, by Ruth Fainlight. 
Viola & Piano
Duration: 7 minutes

Dark Ground

2005
Dark Ground inhabits an imaginary space where a ritual takes place. I see the space as a circle, and within that circle, cyclic patterns and formations are enacted, each leaving a mark on the space.

Solo Percussion
Duration: 8 minutes
Commissioned by Joby Burgess.
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Loopholes & Lynchpins

2003
I sought the pitches from Sonatas by Scarlatti, which I then put through a process of augmentation via signals, which act like holes placed upon Scarlatti's music, rather like loopholes that allowed space for my own interventions.

Solo Piano
Duration: 10 minutes
Commissioned by Stephen Gutman.
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loure

2000
It's a kind of dialogue between violence and longing.

Solo Violin
Duration: 3 minutes
Commissioned by Simon Blendis for Hoxton New Music Days 2000 with funds from Music Choice.
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Troubairitz

2005
A song cycle based on 12th century ‘Provencal’ poems by women troubadours, the troubairitz.

Soprano & Percussion
Duration: 17 minutes
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Destroying Beauty

2008
Text by John Clare. 

For Soprano and Piano
Duration: 3 minutes
Commissioned by NMC Recordings for the Songbook CD.
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Static

2009
Static and This Love are poems by Nick Drake. Both, to me, have a vivid potency and atmosphere, which I've tried to capture and intensify in these songs. 

Instrumentation: Tenor and Piano
Duration: 2 minutes
Commissioned by the Leicester International Music Festival 2009, Artistic Director: Nicholas Daniel.
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This Love

2009
Static and This Love are poems by Nick Drake. Both, to me, have a vivid potency and atmosphere, which I've tried to capture and intensify in these songs.

Instrumentation: Tenor and Piano
Duration: 2 1/2 minutes
Commissioned by the Leicester International Music Festival 2009, Artistic Director: Nicholas Daniel.
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Greenhouses

2011
Text by Rachel Corrie.

Duration: 3 minutes
Commissioned by John Woolrich in 2003 for an anti-war cabaret.
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Low voice (male or female), alto flute, percussion and double bass 

Song of Pure Nothingness

2015
Text by Guilhelm IX d'Aquitane (translated by Mariette Purcell) 
Duration: 13 minutes
Commissioned by Andrew Watts
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Christmas Eve

2011
A carol for the Choir of King's College Cambridge. Text by Christina Georgina Rossetti, written before 1886.

For unaccompanied SATB choir.
Duration: 6 minutes
Commissioned by King’s College, Cambridge, for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols 2011.
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As with Voices and With Tears

2010
A setting of Whitman's dirge for Two Veterans.

Instrumentation: SATB choir, strings and electronics
Duration: 23 minutes
Commissioned by Portsmouth Grammar School.
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Between Worlds

2014
Between Worlds is a spiritual and poetic drama, based on the events of 9/11; opening out to a universal panorama of human beings in extremis. The work, a collaboration between director Deborah Warner, composer Tansy Davies, and librettist, Nick Drake, was premiered at the Barbican Theatre, London, in April 2015. 

Duration: 90 minutes
Co-commissioned by ENO and the Barbican, London 
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