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Haydn commission shortlisted for British Composer Awards 2010

One of the pieces from Homage to Haydn, commissioned by Matthew Schellhorn and premiered in the 2009 Cambridge Festival, has been shortlisted for a British Composer Award.

Muso-Haydn

‘Stolen Rhythm’ by Cheryl Frances-Hoad (b. 1980), was written last year as part of a project to commemorate the Haydn bicentenary. Six composers were commissioned to write a piece based on the letters H-A-Y-D-N, taking as their inspiration a similar set of pieces by Debussy, Ravel, Dukas, d’Indy, Hahn, and Widor. ‘Stolen Rhythm’ was the fourth piece in the set. The other composers involved in the project were Tim Watts, Colin Riley, Cecilia McDowall, Michael Zev Gordon, and Jeremy Thurlow. The six pieces, grouped together as Homage to Haydn, received their world premiere performances in the 2009 Cambridge Festival and were published later that year in Muso magazine.

Cheryl Frances-Hoad writes: ‘I took inspiration from the third movement of Haydn’s piano sonata in E flat (Hob XVI: 45) – the way it continually moves forward with a boundless energy and wit is thrilling. It seemed to me that it was the rhythmic content of the movement that gave it these properties, so I decided shamelessly to steal the rhythm – hook, line and sinker – and simply put my notes to it. I have played with various transmutations of the notes B, A, D, D, G, generating lots of different sets of pitches by methods such as inversion and transposition in order to arrive at the harmonic and melodic content.’

‘I am delighted that Cheryl’s piece is gaining the recognition it deserves,’ says Matthew Schellhorn. ‘“Stolen Rhythm” is a fabulously crafted and witty piece, which is great fun to perform, and which makes a very fitting tribute to Haydn.’

Listen to the piece

See the music and read the interview in Muso magazine

Visit Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s website



Matthew Schellhorn with five of the six composers. From left to right: Tim Watts, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Jeremy Thurlow, Michael Zev Gordon, Cecilia McDowall. Absent: Colin Riley.

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