Solo / Duo

Quantum Dots2016
piano3 minutes
Premiered by William Bracken, 5 March 2016, Hope Church, Hoylake, Wirral
buy sheet music here
programme note
Ian Stephens: Quantum Dots
Quantum Dots was commissioned for the excellent young pianist William Bracken by his family, and first performed by him on 5 March 2016 as an encore at a concert by the Wirral Symphony Orchestra. The title plays on his enthusiasm for physics, while the music, at his request, inhabits a calm, reflective, jazz-inflected soundworld.
Two Hebridean Boat Songs2014
2 flutes or 2 clarinets5 minutes

Premiered by Zoe Allen and Caroline Ardron at Pigotts Music Camp, August 2014.
Sheet music (versions for flute duo and clarinet duo) is available here
Programme note
I wrote Two Hebridean Boat Songs as a present for my mother in March 2014. It combines her love of playing the flute, rowing, sailing and Scotland. It's an adaptation of two tunes from the Hebrides, a Rowing Song: Nam biodh agam coite bhiorach (If I had a sharp-prowed coracle), and a Sailing Song: Fail ò ro mar dh’fhàg sinn (Fal-o-ro, as we departed).
Bassoon Sonata2014
bassoon, piano15 minutes
Premiered by Matthew Dodd and Sam Laughton, 4 August 2018, Pigotts Music Camp.
buy sheet music here
programme note
Ian Stephens: Bassoon Sonata
Wild Dance
Song without Words
The Bassoon Sonata was commissioned by Miranda Dodd for her husband Matthew, to celebrate his 50th birthday in December 2014.
I have known Miranda – an excellent violinist and recorder player as well as an educationalist – and Matthew – a superb bassoonist and a cryptographer – since 1998, when we first played together at Pigotts Music Camp, an inspirational place in the Chiltern Hills.
The Sonata is in four movements. The first movement, Ode, grows from a melodic line in a setting of Keats’ Ode to Autumn that I made in 1994, specifically the line “Where are the songs of spring? Ah, where are they?”, which forms the bassoon’s opening phrase. The more sprightly central section, marked Vivo, makes reference to Matthew’s name (Matthew = 7 letters, Dodd = 4 letters) in its alternation of bars of 7/4 and 4/4.
Material in each subsequent movement is generated in one way or another from the Sonata’s opening melody. In the second movement, Wild Dance, the unrestrained vigour of the outer sections finds contrast in a more thoughtful and consonant central dance, and a Meno mosso section that recalls the opening of the first movement.   The third movement, Song without Words, grows from four pairs of rocking chords which form the accompaniment to the songlike melody line. The iterations of the song alternate with passages of dense dark chords.
The finale, Scat, pays homage to the kings of bebop. Its driving, onrushing, syncopated energy continues unabated until the bassoon’s final flourish.
The Sonata takes about 15 minutes to perform.
The premiere was given by Matthew Dodd and Sam Laughton on 4 August 2018 at Pigotts Music Camp.
Soliloquy for Miz2013
solo flute, with optional drone2 minutes

Written for Miranda Krestovnikoff. 

programme note

Ian Stephens: Soliloquy for Miz 

I wrote this short piece as a birthday present for Miranda Krestovnikoff. I’ve known Miranda since we were students at Bristol University together – we sung in the same choirs and played in the same orchestras, and have remained friends ever since. She is a fine flautist.

Though it can be played on flute alone, ideally it should be played with the accompaniment of a drone on D, and also if possible on A. If both notes are sounded, D should be the lower note. The D should ideally be stronger than the A. The drone could be hummed and/or played on instruments. It should remain quiet throughout, fading out as specified in the score.

Cipher Variations2011
violin and piano7 minutes

Premiered by Eleanor Gilchrist (violin) and David Price (piano) at Pigotts Music Camp, near High Wycombe, August 2012

Sheet music available to buy here

programme note

Ian Stephens: Cipher Variations

I was commissioned to write Cipher Variations by my friend Lesley Smith, a scientist and good amateur violinist, as a present to herself on a significant birthday. It’s a set of variations on a 9-note theme derived through various processes from Lesley’s name. 
Three Miniatures: Prelude, Celtic Elegy, Chapel House Dance2002
clarinet and cello5 minutes 30 seconds
Sheet music available here

programme note

Ian Stephens: Three Miniatures

Celtic Elegy
Chapel House Dance

Prelude and Celtic Elegy were written for clarinettist Mandy Burvill (my wife) and cellist Joanna Lander, then both members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, for performance in a variety of mental health settings in Liverpool, organized through the outreach department of the RLPO. I wrote Chapel House Dance in 2001 as a 70th birthday present for my dear Aunty Rachel. Mandy and I performed it as a surprise for her at her home, Chapel House, in Rivington, Lancashire, in March 2001.
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