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Giles Swayne

Giles Swayne was born in Hertfordshire in June 1946. After an early childhood in Singapore and Australia, photohe grew up in Liverpool and Yorkshire. He began composing at the age of ten, and in his teens was encouraged by his cousin, the composer Elizabeth Maconchy. He studied the piano with Gordon Green, Phyllis Hepburn, James Gibb and Vlado Perlemuter. On leaving Cambridge in 1968 he won a composition scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he studied with Harrison Birtwistle, Alan Bush and Nicholas Maw.

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Songbooks, Arrangements and/or Media

Displaying 1-4 of 4 items.


Giles Swayne  : Three Shakespeare Songs : SATB : 01 Songbook : 884088952242 : 14037045

Giles Swayne : Three Shakespeare Songs

A re-engraved and re-edited copy of the 1969 set of pieces for unaccompanied mixed voices, including Where The Bee Sucks and Full Fathom Five.

Songlist: Full Fathom Five, Hark Hark the Lark, Where the Bee Sucks

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Voicing: SATB | 4166b | Songbook | $11.95 | A Cappella


Giles Swayne : The Human Heart : SATB : 01 Songbook : 884088622985 : 14037661

Giles Swayne : The Human Heart

The human heart was written in February 2009, after I heard a performance of John Tavener's haunting setting of The Lamb which made me want to see what I could do with Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience. I had made an elaborate choral setting of The Tiger in 1995 for the National Youth Choir of Great Britain; but this time I wanted to keep things simpler and stick to four-part SATB choir, with a few small solos.

The human heart is a genuine song-cycle, in that each song leads to the next, and there is an overall theme which is aptly summed up by the title: beneath Blake's mystical and socially subversive language (which are very much the product of his time) his abiding concern seems to me the co-existence of good and evil within the human heart, and the violent contradictions which this causes. Musically, these songs are quite simple: all of them except The Fly are mainly in two real parts, with sopranos and tenors singing one line in octaves, and altos and basses the other, in varying forms of canon.

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Voicing: SATB | 7327b | Songbook | $10.95 | A Cappella


Giles Swayne : Giles Swayne Choral Songbook : SATB : 01 Songbook : 14012712

Giles Swayne : Giles Swayne Choral Songbook

A first retrospective of Giles Swayne's challenging but rewarding liturgical settings. This album brings together five short religious choral settings, for mixed voices unaccompanied or with organ.

Songlist: O Magnum Mysterium, Veni Creator I, Veni Creator II, Beatus Vir, Missa Brevissima

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Voicing: SATB | 7328b | Songbook | $14.95 | A Cappella


Giles Swayne : Four Christmas Carols, Op. 77 : SATB : Songbook : 884088464912 : 1846091837 : 14011721

Giles Swayne : Four Christmas Carols, Op. 77

Four Christmas carols that capture the distinctive, contradictory and unmistakable choral style of Giles Swayne. Always plain-speaking, challenging, intense and emotionally honest, Swayne's music also brims with wit, melody and a sly playfulness that is both captivating and addictive. The Four Christmas Carols were written over several years. The first three are for unison voices with Piano, and can be performed by the whole assembly. The fourth requires a larger SATB chorus, and is a larger, expressive and impressive setting of The Coventry Carol. This set of carols has it all -from grand unison melodies, familiar tunes and rousing choruses to more poignant, challenging and unusual passages. It represents a hugely satisfying and entertaining addition to any festive performance or carol concert.

Songlist: The Coventry Carol, Joseph's Carol, Starlight, The Two Nowells

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Voicing: SATB | 40489b | Songbook | $7.95

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