The Exotic Dream of the Wonderful Monsieur Magritte

Posted in News on January 15th, 2021 by Nigel – Comments Off on The Exotic Dream of the Wonderful Monsieur Magritte

Here is an excellent rendition by USA Euphonium soloist Grant Jameson of `The Exotic Dream of the Wonderful Monsieur Magritte’ – I love the `horror’ genre images and  Grant’s creative approach to this performance!!!


Out Now!! `Outrageous Fortune’

Posted in News on November 30th, 2020 by Nigel – Comments Off on Out Now!! `Outrageous Fortune’

This new CD release from `World of Brass’ features Brett Baker (Trombone), Natalie Grady (Actress) and conductor Reed Thomas (Conductor)in a performance of `Outrageous Fortune’ with the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra.

`Outrageous Fortune’ is a symphonic drama in the structure and sentiment of a traditional concerto. I have taken this approach from Hector Berlioz’ masterpiece Harold in Italy, Symphony in Four Parts with Viola Obbligato which illustrates how a soloist can be part of a larger symphonic work.

I have designed my Symphony Outrageous Fortune as a melancholic drama, bleak and sardonic in style. It follows programmatically the story of Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet. I have prefaced my score with the bard’s despairing words:

“Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind”.

Hamlet is a tale of conspiracy, betrayal, suicide, revenge and murder, and also a ghost story. Both the trombone soloist and the actor take on the role of the Prince of Denmark, Hamlet. Outrageous Fortune reflects the protagonist’s despair, his self-doubt and self-loathing and his advance towards mental breakdown. Hamlet’s character is full of bitterness, but alongside this he shows profound wisdom beyond his years.

The Danish castle of Elsinore is the setting for the drama. I have set to music, two of Hamlet’s soliloquies:

  1. “O that this too too sullied flesh would melt”
  2. To be, or not to be, that is the question”.

Hamlet’s first monologue sees him longing to be dead and contemplating his own suicide although he is concerned that the Almighty has forbidden this option by sacred law. The cause of Hamlet’s malady is his distress that his mother has just remarried following the death of his father (the former King), less than two months ago. His mother’s suitor is his father’s own brother, Hamlet’s uncle! Hamlet rails against the rashness of his mother’s actions without apparent concern for his father’s death:

She married. O most wicked speed, to post – With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!”.

The second soliloquy “To be, or not to be – that is the question” finds Hamlet near to mental breakdown, grappling with the choice between killing himself, or living on to avenge his father’s murder? To kill himself brings uncertainty as no one has ever returned from the afterlife – who knows what suffering awaits there?

“But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscovered country, from whose bourn

No traveller returns – puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bear those ills we have,

Than fly to others that we know not of.

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all”.

This CD is dedicated to the late Stan Kitchen and Richard Scott.

Locked Down. Locked In. But Living. at the Lawrence Batley Theatre

Posted in News on August 14th, 2020 by Nigel – Comments Off on Locked Down. Locked In. But Living. at the Lawrence Batley Theatre
Locked Down. Locked In. But Living.
Studio Wayne McGregor, Northern Ballet and Gary Clarke Company unite in a world-premiere triple bill of contemporary dance and ballet at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Hudderfield from Monday 28th September to Sunday 18th October.
The award winning choreographer Gary Clarke with his Company are using the 1903 film of `Alice in Wonderland‘ to create a dramatic and hyper-theatrical backdrop for this world premiere new dance production. Gary has chosen the music Nigel “Dial `H’ for Hitchcock” (performed by the world-famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Conductor: David Thornton / Naxos label – 8.574097).

`Samurai’ performed by the Banda Simfònica Municipal de València

Posted in News on August 14th, 2020 by Nigel – Comments Off on `Samurai’ performed by the Banda Simfònica Municipal de València

Here is an excellent performance of Samurai performed by the Banda Simfònica Municipal de València under the baton of Rafael Sanz-Espert, (Director)

Emily Bronte’s “Spellbound” (Wild Winds Coldly Blow) with Music by Nigel Clarke

Posted in News on July 24th, 2020 by Nigel – Comments Off on Emily Bronte’s “Spellbound” (Wild Winds Coldly Blow) with Music by Nigel Clarke


The Grimethorpe Colliery BandShaun Dooley (narrator) and Helen Varley (tenor horn),

Lorne Campbell (Photography) &  Michael Hamilton (Video Design)



Article Taken from 4Barsrest article

Grimethorpe Colliery Band has used its time away from the contest and concert platform due to the COVID-19 crisis to concentrate on a number of new artistic projects.

The first to come to fruition is a collaboration between the band, composer Nigel Clarke, actor Shaun Dooley, photographer Lorne Campbell, creative video producer Michael Hamilton and tenor horn soloist Helen Varley to bring to musical life an evocative poem written by author Emily Bronte.

Wild Winds Coldly Blow

‘Wild Winds Coldly Blow’, is inspired by her poem entitled, ‘Spellbound’ written in 1837, which evokes the bleak landscape of the Yorkshire moors.

It describes the magnificently rugged, imposing nature of the moorland with the music bringing a darkened sense of evocative atmosphere to bear through Helen’s eloquent playing.


Speaking about the project Helen told 4BR: “It has been really exciting to be part of something so ambitious.

Working with such a superb team of collaborators to bring it to life has been engrossing, but we were keen to develop something different, and I think that’s resulted in a quite beautiful presentation.”

The poem is narrated by actor Shaun Dooley. This is not the first time Shaun has worked with Grimethorpe, as they collaborated together on the hugely successful Children in Need album last year.

The ‘Broadchurch’ and ‘Gentleman Jack’ star is also an ardent supporter of the band through his strong ties to the village, as his father, grandfather and great grandfather all worked at the Grimethorpe Colliery.

Latest technology

‘Spellbound’ was recorded using the latest smart phone technology to try and show what can be achieved despite severe performance restrictions, with the audio put together by Griff Hewis, a specialist engineer who has worked on the band’s ‘Brassed Off Live’ performances.

Meanwhile, the collaborative artistic concept also utilised images from renowned photographer Lorne Campbell and the video design skills of Michael Hamilton, which utilised the isolated farmhouse called ‘Top Withens’, said to be the inspiration for Emily Brontë’s ‘Wuthering Heights.’

Creative excellence

Speaking exclusively to 4BR, Grimethorpe Band Manager Andrew Coe said: “We’re thrilled to link up with such creative excellence to produce ‘Wild Winds Coldly Blow’.

Nigel Clarke’s music, brilliantly performed by Helen and the band, combines so beautifully with the evocative imagery. We’re immensely grateful to Shaun for his time and input and our thanks go to Griff, Mike and Lorne for their work.

It’s been a great team effort under the most challenging of circumstances, but one which we hope shows that Grimethorpe remains one of the most creative brass bands in the world.”

Grimethorpe have always striven to be artistically ambitious and I’m delighted that this project has shown that once moreMusical Director, David Thornton

Historical culture

Musical Director, David Thornton was equally delighted. “Yorkshire is rich in historical culture and brass bands should play a central role in celebrating it.

Projects like this can also juxtapose that heritage with the most contemporary use of technology and then link it to the wonderful music of a composer of Nigel Clarke’s standing and Helen’s superb artistry.

Grimethorpe have always striven to be artistically ambitious and I’m delighted that this project has shown that once more.”

Spellbound (1837)

Emily Bronte

The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed in snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.