Dorset composer - Rick Birley
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Rick Birley biography
Compositions [Orchestral works]
Symphony ["little bird"]
Bishops & Clerks
Chamber Symphony in Five Movements
Variations on a Plainsong
Movement for String Orchestra "magnas inter opes inops"
A Little English Folksong Suite/ The Ploughboy
English Folksong Suite No.2
Chansons de France
Hebrew Songs of Love, Faith & Survival
Call to Remembrance - a meditation on The Last Post
Sar-planina - a Macedonian folksong
Nursery Rhymes Kaleidoscope
the Cuckoo - 'cello & chamber orchestra
A Dorset Rhapsody
Eight Orchestral Studies
Lord of the Dance
Compositions [choral/orch] - SACRED
Advent Carol Succession
Advent Carol Succession notes
Songs of Time
Compositions [Choral/Orch] - SECULAR
The Jackdaw of Rheims
Nine Welsh Folksong Arrangements
Compositions [Choral a capella SACRED]
Carol: I Sing of a Maiden
Compositions [Choral a capella SECULAR]
Three Hardy Settings for unaccompanied choir
Dance to your Daddy
Drill, Ye Terriers, Drill
The Willow Song
In Vernali Tempore
My Love in her Attire
Compositions [Vocal] SECULAR
Seven Folksong Ballads
Compositions [vocal] SACRED
The Virgin's Song
Your Presence [piano/violin]
Quintet "magnas inter opes inops"
Five Folksong Arrangements (for the Crucible)
Latin Primer [Septet]
Latin Primer [violin/piano]
in memoriam G B
Variations on a Plainsong - piano transcription
Variations on a Plainsong - original version for solo clarinet
3 Preludes for Piano
Carol Preludes [piano]
Marat/Sade Suite [2-piano transcription]
Folksong Dance Suite for Cello & Piano
Spanish Folksongs [2 piano version]
Dance to Your Daddy
Salutation Carol Prelude [piano]
Grazioso (guitar solo)
Dorset Suite (guitar duo)
Drink Old England Dry: a Folksong Frolic for Busy Fingers
Sonatina for Violin & Piano 
Donegal - a choral fantasy transcribed for piano
Too Darn Hot
A Dorset Affair
Hornby: Exultate Jubilate
The case for a National Rehearsal Orchestra for New Music
Pembrokeshire scenes i
Pembrokeshire scenes ii
Italy October 2010
We English - a historical rhyme
Rick Birley Blog
Hobie Adventure Island
Maiden Voyage 12.iii.11
Music Hall for Westfield
May 24th 2014 Orchestral Concert
My father's face
Such stillness, such straining silence,
such gentle sun rising through the mists
of my awoken soul,
ascending with the lark
to the warm-remembered dreams
of supernatural child,
held in time's embrace,
reflected in the wild laughter
of my father's face.
I hear his voice, and suddenly rejoice
as there across the table in that chair
his eyes meet mine.
And in the blinking of his whiskered eye
his impish smile imparts the gift
of his enduring love.
And my heart sings with the lark,
up there, above.
My dad rose early with the sun
and descended daily to the rocks
below the house.
Without least element of fun
he dives straight in! And flocks
of oystercatchers take flight
below the house,
wondering, surely wondering
at the sight.
For brief while beneath the waves
my dad is gone.
But reappears! - and from the caves
burst forth rock doves in wild alarm.
In urgent flight they disappear.
And in my mind I still can hear
my dad returning from his swim.
I am not now the half of him....
I never knew the child
my father oncetime was.
I never saw his boyhood face,
nor heard the treble of his voice.
Yet in the stillness of this place,
this hallowed house,
this ghost-filled holy space,
why, here I am that child,
the son I oncetime was.
I feel once more the freshness of my face,
and hear again my little childhood voice
raised in laughter,
innocent and free.
The child my father oncetime was
is me. The groaning age
is only what dull strangers see!
There came a day, a slate-grey day,
when light grew light
without the morning sun.
No larks rose, no songs begun,
no flight to heaven as only a skylark may.
No oystercatchers probing in the bay,
and no choughs
grubbing in the clay.
No swifts slicing through the dampened air
with scything wings. No 'daws
riding high the clifftop drafts
with skillful flair.
No noisy rooks, nor black crows' raucous caws.
The day stood still and waited.
Thus came this day, ill-fated.
On the rocks again, my dad,
those rocks below the house.
Now vacantly insane, quite mad,
he dived once more and vanished
from my sight
into that dark that is forever night.
Such stillness, such eternal silence
in my house above those rocks,
those rocks below the house
from which my father leapt.
Yet in this aching stillness,
my senses sharpened by the night,
I feel and touch his presense
In this house above the rocks
where I such anguished tears have wept
I see him in the blindness of my sight
as I, my father's lonely child,
have lonely vigil kept.
Once more he blinks his whiskered eye,
once more his impish grin imparts
the gift of his empowering love,
and my heart sings, again,
my soul rides high
with morning lark,
so high up there in dazzling blue above.
[Cae Rhedyn - end of May 2015]
(c) 2017 Rick Birley