Roger Marsh Composer


The following is a list of principal works; there are some more to be found in the publishers’ catalogues, and there may be more in the composer’s cupboard.  Please feel free to enquire using the contacts page.

  • Ensemble

    • Kinshi for ensemble (2015) piccolo, bass clarinet, harp, 2 percussion, 2 violins, viola, cello, bass guitar

      Commissioned by Vaganza, the new music ensemble of the University of Manchester.  Premiere on March 13th 2015 in a concert entitled ‘Eastern Exchanges’.  Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, University of Manchester, 7.30pm.

      Published by Decipherer Arts Press

      Programme note


      Score:  KINSHI (2015)


    • Running Jumping and Standing Still (2014) fl,cl,pf, perc, 2 vns, va, vc, bass guitar

      Three short movements:

      1. Running Jumping and Standing Still
      2. Descending
      3. Rising

      Descending is an ensemble version of the piano piece Descending HelvellynRising includes some theatricality – the players rise and walk strangely into the audience…..

      Commissioned by Late Music Concerts York.  Premiere by the Late Music Ensemble, conductor James Whittle,  July 5th 2014  Unitarian Chapel, York.  Duration c 10mins

      Published by Decipherer Arts Press

      Programme note



      Score: Running Jumping and Standing Still

    • What Charlie Did Next (2009) 2 fl, cl, 2 sax,trpt, horn, 2 trbn, tuba, perc, piano, electric guitar, bass guitar

      • Published by Edition Peters

      Commissioned by ‘De Ereprijs’ and premiered by them in Arnhem, Holland in October 2009, conducted by Wim Boorman.


    • Sukeroku (2000) Percussion Quartet

      A Japanese inspired quartet composed for Backbeat Percussion, who performed the piece widely in the UK and in Japan.  Only untuned percussion (and voices).  The title is taken from the Kabuki play Sukeroku, flower of Edo.  Duration c 14 minutes.  The piece is recorded on Hiten: NF61801



    • Canto 1 for string ensemble (1999) String ensemble

      For eleven solo strings. Premiered by the Goldberg Ensemble, conducor Malcom Layfield, Huddersfield Festival Nov 24 1999.  Recorded on NMC D174   Duration 14 mins


    • Spin (1997) Solo Piano, fl,ob,cl,bsn, hn. tpt, tbn, 2 perc.

      for piano solo and 9 instruments. Commissioned by Ensemble Telemaque, Marseille. Premiere by Telemaque at Cite de la Musique, Marseille, 21 November 1997. Further performance at Ancona Festival, Italy, 29 September 1998. Performance by Capricorn, conductor Roger Marsh, University of York, Oct 21 1998.


    • Waiting for Charlie (1995) Fl, A fl,B Clar, A sax, Bari sax, hn, tpt, 2 tbn, tuba, pf, perc, elec.gtr, bass gtr.

      For 15 instruments.  Commissioned by the City of Apeldoorn (Netherlands) for ‘de ereprijs’ ensemble. Premiere in Alpeldoorn April 5 1996. Subsequent performances and broadcast on Dutch Radio. Performance in Moscow and Wroclaw September 1996. Recorded in public concert at BBC Radio Theatre, London, 11 January 1998. BBC Radio 3 broadcast 16 January 1998. (14 mins) CD ‘Going Up’. De ereprijs ensemble. KLIM OP 007


    • Kagura (1991) picc, fl, ob, cl, BClar, tpt, hn, tbn, pf, 2 perc, 2 vn, va, vcl, cbass

      Japanese inspired work for large ensemble, with percussionists playing large bass drums at either side of the ensemble.  Commissioned by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group in association with Keele University and West Midlands Arts. First performance at the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham, Sept 29 1991, conducted by Elgar Howarth. Subsequent performances by Black Hair ensemble, conducted by the composer.



  • Instrumental

    • Yarn (2018) Flute and Piano

      Composed for Edwina Smith and Jo peach.  Premiere: Late Music Concerts, Unity Chapel York, April 7th.

      Programme note

    • But still….. (2017) Soprano, piano and viola

      • Published by Edition Peters

      Commissioned by Jin Hyung Lim for a programme dedicated to the music of Isang Yun. The piece uses texts from interviews given by Yun in 1977 in Germany, in which he describes the time he spent in prison in South Korea, after he was accused of espionage.  Premiere: National Centre for Early Music, June 6th 2017.

      Programme note and texts

      CD ‘Isang Yun remembered’

    • Coppel (2017) Multiple recorders

      For multiple recorders.  Commissioned by Carmen Troncoso.  Text by Vicente Huidobro.

      Published by Decipherer Arts Press



    • Cracks for Piano Trio (2016) Violin, Cello and piano

      • Published by Edition Peters

      Commissioned by the Bangor Festival of New Music for the Fidelio Trio, and premiered by them in the 2017 festival at Pontio.

    • Touch and Go (2014) Solo Piano

      • Published by Edition Peters

      Commissioned by Catherine Laws for the Orpheus Institute, Ghent.      Premiere in Ghent October 2nd 2014


    • Descending Helvellyn (2013) Solo piano

      This is a short piece (3 minutes) composed for the 80th birthday of Terry Holmes, a great champion of new music.

    • Sankyoku (2004) Flute Guitar and Percussion

      First performance April 2004 by The New Music Players, Bristol University. Duration c 9 mins

    • Atsumari (2003) O-Tsuzumi and percussion quartet

      Commissioned by Backbeat Percussion Quartet with Shonosuke Okura.  The solo part (for O-Tsuzume drum and voice) is freely notated and part improvised, against a fixed score for untuned instruments.   First performance in the Media Dome, Fukuoka, Japan, November 2003. CD recording Hiten: NF61801  c8 mins




    • Chaconne (1999) for solo violin

      c7 mins.   Listen to Peter Sheppard Skaerved’s 2005 performance.

    • Slow Right Arm (1997) Baroque Violin and Double Bass

      Commissioned by Barry Guy and Maya Homburger and premiered by them at the Hudderfield Contemporary Music Festival.   8 mins

  • Multiple ensemble and soloists

    • Pierrot Lunaire – 50 Rondels Bergamasques (2002) Music theatre (2 hours) for various vocal forces

      Albert Giraud’s entire cycle ‘Pierrot Lunaire’ in French and English.  50 individual settings for various vocal combinations from solo voice to choir.  In two parts (approx 60 minutes each) the work is designed to be performed theatrically, though it works well as a concert piece and individual numbers can be performed separately or in various groupings.  Part One (2001) was commissioned by the Hilliard Ensemble for their ensemble singing summer school in Germany.  Part Two (2002) was completed for performance by students at the University of York and includes some additional instruments (violin, cello or viol da gamba, organ, percussion) used in one or two of the numbers.

      Gramophone review:

      Click to listen to excerpts on NMC website

      Opening number ‘Theatre’:

    • The Big Bang (1989) Music theatre (2 hours) for voices and large ensemble

      A dramatic oratorio for voices and instruments. Old Testament tales of love and intrigue.  Includes The Song of Debra, The Song of Abigail, Three Biblical Songs (psalms of love and war), The Wormwood and the Gall.

      Duration c 2 hours.   1st performance of Part One only, at the Norwich Festival of Contemporary Church Music, Norwich Arts Centre, July 1 1989.  Complete work premiered by students at the University of York November 1989.




    • Samson (1983) Music theatre (30 minutes) for voices and saxophone

      A dramatic oratorio in Japanese style.  Dramatic baritone (Samson: masked) soprano (Delilah) small female chorus, two basses, saxophone.   Includes Deliliah for soprano and saxophone (may be performed separately).

      Commissioned for VOCEM by the Arts Council of Great Britain. 1st performance at the 1984 Nettlefold Festival, 20 October 1984. Duration: 30 mins.

      A smaller version of this piece exists for Soloist (Samson) with 2 male percussionists.  This was premiered at the Ars Nova Festival in Brussels in 1992.

      Article about Samson and Japanese music.

  • Orchestra

    • Heathcote’s Inferno for wind orchestra (1996)

      Composed for the RNCM Wind Orchestra.  First performance conducted by Clark Rundell.

      From Maecenas website: “In this powerful and imaginative passacaglia, Marsh’s command of formal structure is combined with a mastery of colour and texture. Its inspiration came from his collaboration with the actor Heathcote Williams in a CD recording of Dante’s Inferno. From its sombre opening the piece develops inexorably to a thrilling, full-blown waltz with more than a hint of Ravel.”

      Information, hire, and score preview here:

      Recording conducted by Tim Rhenish:

    • Espace (1994) (1994)

      For orchestra.  English Northern Philharmonia.  Diego Masson.  Huddersfield Festival 1994


    • Stepping Out for piano and orchestra (1990)

      BBC commission for the 1990 Prom season.  Premiered by Martin Roscoe with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lothar Zagrosek.  Requires division of the orchestra into two, around a smaller chamber group including harp and percussion.  Duration c 14 minutes.


  • Solo voice

    • Walking Away (Norah Hanson version) (2016) Poet and marimba

      Poem ‘Walking Away’ by Norah Hanson, specially recorded by the poet in her kitchen in Hull.  Marimba played by Damien Harron; recorded at Leeds College of Music.  Edited by Lynette Quek (2018)


    • Walking Away (2015) Soprano and Marimba

      • Published by Edition Peters

      Composed for Ana Beard Fernandez and Zoe Craven, this is a set of three pieces:

      1 A flower for my daughter  (James Joyce)

      2 Walking Away (Norah Hanson)

      3 Lullaby (Thomas Dekker)

      Premiere May 1st 2015 at the National Centre for Early Music, York.

    • Lullaby (2009)

      • Published by Edition Peters

      Composed for the NMC Songbook.  Voice and Marimba. Setting of Golden Slumbers by Thomas Dekker (1572 – 1632).


    • Wiegenlied (2002) (2001)

      For tenor and prepared piano.  Composed for John Potter and Nicky Losseff.

    • Suicide (2001) for solo soprano

      This is piece 18 from Pierrot Lunaire , originally composed for Linda Hirst who sings on the recording; but it can and often has been performed alone.

      Lovely video interpretation by Eleanor Westbrook


    • Sozu Baba (1996) for solo female voice (with drum)

      • Published by Novello

      A theatre piece for solo voice also playing drum. Commissioned by Janice Jackson (Utrecht). Premiere at the Kikker Theatre, Utrecht, 31 March 1997.  Subsequent performances by her in the Netherlands and in Canada, and by Frances Lynch in the UK. (20 mins).

      The text of ‘Sozu Baba’ is based on ‘Three Roads River’, a poem by Judith Woolf (English Department, University of York) about a mythical Japanese character described in Lafcadio Hearn’s book ‘Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan’ (1894).  Judith’s poem, illustrated by one of her paintings, is  published in issue 8 of ‘Gramarye: The Journal of the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy’, University of Chichester.

    • Black Hair (piano version) (1995)

      Arranged for soprano and piano.

      Programme note

      Performed here by Sarah Dacey. Listen

    • A Little Snow (1994)

      • Published by Edition Peters

      The text for this short piece for solo voice is the poem ‘Snow’ by the Chilean poet Nicanor Parra. It is from his ‘Canciones Rusas’ (1963-4) and the translation is by Miller Williams.  A Litle Snow was written for Anna Myatt in 1994.

      It has been performed many times and by many kinds of voices, and Jane Manning has written about the piece in her book New Vocal Repertory.  In 2016 Carmen Troncoso adapted the piece for vocalising recorder player.

      Listen  to a performance by Ana Beard Fernandez

    • The Bodhi Tree (1992) Female voice and trombone

      Composed for Nicola Walker Smith and Barrie Webb.

      The body is the bodhi tree,
      The mind is like a clear mirror.
      Be sure to wipe it all the time
      Allow no spot of dust to cling there.

      The body is not a tree
      The mind is not a clear mirror
      In truth exists no single thing
      Where then is the dust to cling?

      Listen to a performance by Anna Myatt and Barrie Webb

    • Black Hair (1992) Voice, 2 clarinets, viola cello, double bass

      • Published by Novello

      Song based on the ghost story ‘Black Hair’ collected by Lafcadio Hearn and used in the film ‘Kwaidan’ by Kobayashi.  Lyrics by the composer.  Original version composed for Mary Weigold and the Composers Ensemble and scored for 2 cl, va, vc, cbass and soprano.  Also a version for soprano and piano (as in the recording above sung by Sarah Dacey).  Other arrangements also exist.

      Listen to Anna Myatt and the Black Hair Ensemble performing the original ensemble version in the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, May 1 1995.


      Programme note


    Vocal ensemble

    • Poor Yorick (2013) TTTB + TTTBB

      • Published by Edition Peters

      A capella setting of passages from Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne:  Time wastes too fast….. and The Death of Yorick.  For the Hilliard Ensemble’s 40th birthday.  For 8 or 9 voices (Hilliard Ensemble and Friends).  Premiere at Spitalfields, London, December 2013.

      Programme note and text.

    • Il Cor Tristo (2008)

      For the four voices of the Hilliard Ensemble (ct, 2 ten, bass).  This is a setting of Dante’s Inferno cantos xxxii and xxxiii (slightly abridged).  In the original Italian, the text is set syllabically throughout and with unadorned simplicity, so that the narrative can be followed by the listener.  The piece was commissioned by Sagra Musicale Umbra and first performed in Perugia, Italy on Sept 15th 2008.  The Hilliards have performed the piece throughout Europe, and recorded it for ECM in 2012 in Sankt Gerold, Austria.

      Gramophone Review:


    • Hold Me Tight (2000)

      Originally composed for Trio Mediaeval. Later performed by Juice Trio.  Combines elements of the Beatles song of the same name with a setting of ‘Ode to the Western Wind’.  Ensemble version forms the central movement of More Silly Love Songs.

    • Love on the rocks (1989)

      Music theatre for four flutes and four voices. Composed for the Tibia Flute Quartet and Vocem electric voice theatre  and premiered by them at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 1990.  This recording was made by Tibia and Midland Music Theatre in 1996 (Erasmus WVH154) available from me on request. For more details about this piece go here.


    • Bits and Scraps (1979)

      • Published by Novello

      A composition for four amplified voices, tape and lighting director.  Based on Samuel Becket’s novel How it is (Comment c’est).  Composed for Electric Phoenix and first performed by them at The Roundhouse, London in 1979.

      More on Bits and Scraps here.

    • Not a soul but ourselves… (1977)

      For four amplified voices.  Texts from Finnegans Wake (James Joyce).

      Blog article on Not a soul but ourselves


    • Dum (1977) Solo voice

      • Published by Novello

      A vocal percussive fantasy for solo performer.  Requires props (a solid lectern, a hammer, a bucket full of metal objects, a tam tam etc).

      Article on Dum

      dum 2

      Listen to a performance by the composer

    Voice and ensemble

    • But still….. (2017) Soprano, piano and viola

      • Published by Edition Peters

      Commissioned by Jin Hyung Lim for a programme dedicated to the music of Isang Yun. The piece uses texts from interviews given by Yun in 1977 in Germany, in which he describes the time he spent in prison in South Korea, after he was accused of espionage.  Premiere: National Centre for Early Music, June 6th 2017.

      Programme note and texts

      CD ‘Isang Yun remembered’

    • Gaia Songs (2017) Soprano and Marimba

      Seven songs for soprano and marimba.  Settings of new poems by Gaia Blandina. Written for Angelica Cathariou.  Premiere May 28th 2017, cmrc York.

      The songs are: 1 Mnemosine 2 Tormalina 3 Recordare 4 Carbonio 5 Carta 6 Quarzo  7 Senza se.


    • Lamentations (2011)

      Performed by Angelica Cathariou

    • The Song of Abigail (1986) Female voice (actress), fl, ob, cl, tpt, tbn, tuba, pf, perc, vn, va, vc, cb.

      The Song of Abigail was written for a BBC invitation concert given by ‘Lontano’ in 1986.  The soloist was Frances Lynch.  The text is adapted from various translations of the Old Testament.

      Programme note

      The Song of Abigail (A Melodrama)_1 – Full Score

    • The Wormwood and the Gall (1981) mezzo soprano, fl(afl).cl/perc/hp/

      Setting of lines from the Lamentations of Jeremiah.  Commissioned by Lontano and premiered by them with Linda Hirst (mezzo) at the Wigmore Hall, London.

      Programme note

      Article: Words and Music 6 – Lamentations

    • A Psalm and a Silly Love Song (1979) Soprano, Mezzo, fl, cl, tpt, harp, viola, cello

      Three movements for Soprano, Mezzo and small ensemble.  Movements 1 and 3 set text from Psalm 39.  The middle movment is an arrangement of Another Silly Love Song, whose text is by St Bernard of Clairvaux: ‘I love because I love.  I love that I may love’.  The title is a reference to Paul McCartney’s Silly Love Songs (with permission): You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs…….. ‘

      Commissoned by Lontano and premiered by them with Rosemary Hardy (Sop), Linda Hirst (mezzo); conductor Odaline de la Martinez.

    • P.S. (1972) Female voice, trombone and double bass

      • Published by Novello

      Composed for Bernard Rands’ new ensemble Sonor for a concert at The Roundhouse, London, – P.S.  is for female voice, trombone and double bass.  It is a musical interpretation of Samuel Beckett’s play called Play. It falls into the category of ‘instrumental theatre’ – ie without costume but specifically staged.  The performers were Josephine Nendick (soprano), Paul Rutherford (trombone) and Barry Guy (bass).  A full account of the piece and its derivation from Beckett is given here:

      Words and Music 15 – Music and Beckett (2)


    Chamber choir

    • A Lyke Wake Dirge (2010) for 24 voices

      Available on New Music for Old York, performed by The 24.

      Programme note