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Scores + Materials

Scores for concert works and other performance materials are available on this page for FREE download (pdf). 

If you want to purchase a hard-copy, or pdf parts, please contact:

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If you are organising a performance featuring one of my works, please do get in touch, and tag @HenryDMcPherson (insta/twitter)!

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5 minutes

Solo Cello

A short piece for solo cello inspired by the period of darkness between the old and new moons. Interlunar is a gesturally driven piece which explores extended melodic phrases and dyadic harmonic relations. Premiere recording by Brian Bromberg (USA) in March 2023.

Interlunar (2023)

Variable duration

Variable Ensemble

Herbarium is a co-composition by Florijan Lörnitzo (AT) and Henry McPherson (UK). The piece is a musical and visual exploration of household herbs and spices, mixing illustration, graphic, and traditional western music notation. Each page in Herbarium features one herb or spice, selected by us for their aroma, their shape, and their imaginative qualities. By layering different pages of the score, you can create your own blend of sonic, visual (and culinary) material. The piece can be played by any ensemble of musicians, whether in concerts, or at home in the kitchen. Herbarium was made possible with the generous support of Stadt Wien and SKE Austromechana.

Herbarium (2023)

8 minutes

Harp, Tenor Recorder

Mosses form an often overlooked but critical aspect of ecosystems the world over, and in the UK, in particular in the borderlands of the Marches where I grew up, and at the gateway to the Yorkshire dales where I now live, Mosses define the landscape through their rich tapestry of green hues and their ubiquity on rain-drenched hillsides. A part of the ‘natural world’ which is just as at home in cities as in the fields, Mosses and their cousins represent some of our closest plant-life neighbours, however their intricate structures, unusual reproductive habits (moss spores can swim), and intimate entanglement with micro and macro-climate systems usually pass without comment. Through generating sonic works inspired by mosses, I hope to gently guide the attention of audiences towards the smaller things, and to foster an interest in nature which could reasonably be explored in both rural and urban environments. This work is written for Tenor Recorder and Harp. Both players should read from the full score (there are no parts). Originally, the piece was recorded using a 22-string lute-harp, but it can be performed on any harp which has 22 or more strings which can be individually tuned. The recorder part can be played on instruments with or without low-C# keys.

Moss Gardens No.1 (2022)

9 ½ minutes

Solo Cello, String Orchestra

Caoineadh (Keening Song) is a lament for solo cello and string orchestra. It forms part of a developing concerto for solo cello, but can be played as a standalone movement.

Caoineadh (2022)

Variable duration

Variable ensemble

Text Score for ensemble of musicians, dancers, or actors.

How to play Mariana (2021)

15 minutes

Low Voice, Guitar

Three Dreams at the End is a short cycle of three surreal songs for low voice and guitar, with spoken prologue, written for my dear friend Peter Norris A wounded figure (perhaps a priest, a soldier, a father, a convict, an old man, a warrior) stumbles into an ancient wood. As he waits for the end, three visions rise before him. He greets them as old friends. It is recommended that players both read from the full score. The guitar part is written in staff and tablature notation, and requires some scordatura (more than one guitar may be used in performance if required/desired).

Three Dreams at the End (2019)

Variable duration

Variable ensemble (dancers, musicians)

Scores for movement (of bodies, of objects), for variable ensemble of dancers and/or musicians

Scores for Movement (2019)

Variable duration

Variable ensemble

A study in notation and illustration. In Ecosystem I, players explore and improvise from a two-panel scene of flora in the undergrowth, following their own path through "not-quite" notation and fragments of manuscript. First performed by Ensemble Academy of the Koninklijk Conservatorium Den Haag at Dag in de Branding Festival, Zuiderstrandtheater, Den Haag, NL, June 2019.

Ecosystem I (2019)

Variable duration

Variable ensemble

Parchments (functional apparatus) (2020) is an assemblage of three painted scores (black Japanese ink on 300gsm cream cartridge, 29.7 x 42.0cm), layered in eight different configurations (panels) and backlit by LED. The work draws conceptually on histories of tattooing, of mark-making, vellum inscription and trace, and explores the ideas of layers of memories and wisdom(s) held in the ‘skin’ – of bodies, of instruments, of buildings, of communities. How do we hold the memories of the things that have touched us? What does it mean to touch and sound? The work can be explore by 1 – 3 movers or instrumentalists in an improvisation capacity. All eight panels should be used in performance. Performance should be between 10 and 30 minutes long. Scores can either be printed, and laid in any grid or linear configuration on the floor, or projected one-by-one onto the wall or floor (if this is the case, care should be taken to ensure there isn’t excessive colour distortion).

Parchments (2019)

4 minutes

Solo String Instrument

Sigil is a work which takes the body of the cellist, and the body of the cello, as visual starting points for a tablature-based graphic notation. The four sections of the piece correspond loosely to the four western alchemical elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, and are interpreted by the cellist in free-time. The focus of the work is the interpretation of graphic, calligraphic contours as pitch, physical, gestural, rhythmic, and timbral material. It was conceived for and premiered by American cellist Adam Hall (WA, MI).

Sigil (2019)

30 minutes

Solo PIano

Partita (2019) is a multi-movement work for solo piano, performed without extended technique. The work draws on a number of traditional musical, poetic, and dance forms, which are interspersed across the piece in addition to movements which are entirely through-composed.

Partita (2019)

Variable duration

Solo Piano

Studies in Black and White is a series of 24 graphic improvisation-stimulus scores, originally created for pianist Maria Sappho. Each panel has been produced using a combination of white and black acrylic on white or black cartridge paper, painted using three flat thick-bristled brushes, a single curved palette knife, and fingers. The majority of the panels were produced using a single stroke or gesture, with no further alteration. This collection serves as a series of practice-pieces for improvising musicians. For pianists, it represents a set of exercises in piano technique, a teaching aid for exploring the sonification and musical interpretation of visual media, and an exploration of the possibilities of musical and visual synchrony. Each panel has been conceived of, or composed, as a musical entity in its own right, with concepts such as texture, line, tone, colour, velocity, and gesture forming the focus of the creation of the work.

Studies in Black and White (2018)

Variable duration

Solo Instrumentalist

Text Score for musician and solo instrument.

Body (2018)

Variable duration

Solo String Instrument

Graphic score for solo string instrument

Studies on a Straight Line (2018)

15 minutes

Solo Bassoon

Oracle is a work in four movements, written for Irish bassoonist Ronan Whittern. The piece reflects upon the ancient religious, cultural, and agricultural relationship between the people of the Great Britain and Ireland and the native trees and forests of these countries. The piece is written as a dialogue, to be performed with a tree. "Go outside and collect three sticks. Return home, harming nothing. The following day, return the sticks to where they were found. Return home, harming nothing." The premiere recording was made by Ronan Whittern in June 2018

Oracle (2018)

9 minutes

Ten. Rec. or Fl., Cl., A. Sax., Tbn., Pno., Perc. x1, Vln., E. Gtr., Db.

Opening Hands is a work for nine musicians (Ten. Rec. or Fl. | Cl. | A. Sax. | Tbn. | Pno. | Perc. x1 | Vln. | E. Gtr. | Db.), featuring prominent parts for the violin and percussion. The piece is an experiment in stretching, pulling, and contracting across melodic lines, and between wide and close harmonic intervals. It opens with an amplified solo for snare drum, using the percussionist's palm, nails, and knuckles, before the violin enters to draws out melodic material from the remainder of the ensemble. It was premiered by Ed Bennet's DECIBEL Ensemble in May 2018. Two versions of the piece exist, including either Tenor Recorder or Flute.

Opening Hands (2018)

5 minutes

Solo Guzheng

A work for solo Guzheng written using a bespoke tablature developed with Guzheng player Zilan Liao (廖子岚). Conceived as part of Psappha Ensemble's 'Composing for...' scheme. Crocus is a contemplative piece which explores the delicate resonances of the Guzheng through a custom microtonal tuning. The hand-made score features a painted crocus inset within the binding.

Crocus (2018)

15 minutes

Trumpet*, Horn*, Percussion, Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano

Meditations is a work which exists in two versions; one for chamber quintet in five movements (2019), and one for chamber septet in four movements (2017). In both versions, the cello takes a soloistic role throughout, leading the other instruments through panels or "meditations" on unknown words. Written during a period of challenging personal upheaval, the work is a attempt to create sonic space for introspection, and to permit emotions, thoughts, and states to pass through unhindered.

Meditations (2017)

9 minutes

Low Whistle/Tenor Recorder

Autumn Thoughts is a short contemplative work in three movements for Low Whistle in D, or Tenor Recorder

Autumn Thoughts (2017)

5 minutes

Guitar Duo

snow-constellation is a short work for guitar duo, featuring scordatura, and written in free time. The performers share a single melodic and harmonic line, descending slowly over the course of five minutes. It was premiered by Samrat Majumder and Maso Girotto in 2018, and received a second performance by Orestis Tsekouras & Haris Kanellidis in 2022 (Presented at the 21st Century Guitar Conference, Ball State University (Muncie, IN)).

snow-constellation (2017)

14 minutes

Clarinet in Bb, Vibraphone, Violin, Cello

In 2016, my mother moved house northwards, leaving behind the landscape of my childhood, and returning to that of her own. Although I once visited Northumberland, as a child, at that time I had no understanding of the profound natural beauty with which the county is blessed. Great hills to the north, at the border with Scotland, give way to foothills of dense deciduous forest, quiet and old. A largely agricultural centre pushes southwards to urban edge of the City of Newcastle, while to the east, a grey coastline is carved out, ruthlessly hewn by the cold and foreboding North Sea. - The foot of the sea-cliff under Dunstanburgh Castle – the building itself decaying majestically – is a place of dark beauty. Columns of ash-coloured rock, peppered with green moss and the white of birds, cascade from the ruin to the blue-grey water beneath. Even against the vastness of the sky, the cliffs stand firm – a sheer wall of rock braced against the sea. At dawn through the mist, the cliffs emerge slowly, as if the sun were gradually drawing them upwards, rock by rock.

A thought of falling (2017)

15 minutes

Chorus, Chamber Orchestra

"While picking berries in a woodland glade, in the haze of a summer storm, a young girl named Maud stumbles upon a treasure in the undergrowth. Hurrying home, watched by the dark eyes of the wood, she is unaware of the events which have been set in motion.The sky darkens, and Maud learns that action – no matter how innocent – gives rise to consequence, and that fear can twist reality into the most gruesome and monstrous of forms." - Maud, Programme Note Originally commissioned by Scottish Opera in 2017, Maud is a short chamber opera for young performers, based on a traditional folk-tale from Herefordshire. It was first performed in Glasgow, April 2018, directed by Olivia Fuchs, with the musical direction and conducting of Chris Gray. The premiere performance featured Danish Mezzo-Soprano Lise Christensen as the Wise-Woman, and young Scottish singer Erin Spence in the title role. Maud was re-commissioned in 2023 in a reduced orchestration, and was performed by the Scottish Opera Young Company in a run of 6 performances across Scotland in July 2023. ​Orchestra: Fl./Picc., Cl./B.Cl., Bsn., Tpt., Hn., Perc. (B.D., T-t., Anv., Vibrasl., Tub. B., Tri., Crot's) Str. ​ Solosits: Maud (Low. Sop/Mezzo), Parents (Sop., Bari.), Wise-woman (Mezzo), Jack (Ten.) Chorus size: c. 30, SATB

Maud (2017/2023)

5 minutes

Clarinet in Bb, Piano

This short piece is taken from the last movement of “Mannequin”, a set of three portraits inspired by the work of Alexander McQueen. This movement of the work drew inspiration from an ensemble of McQueen’s featured in the “Savage Beauty” collection - "the Horn of Plenty" - featuring a headpiece, corset, and skirt made of hundreds of dark black feathers. Mannequin was commissioned by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland for PLUG 10, and was premiered by Ensemble Modern.

Death the Mother (2016)

15 minutes

Symphony Orchestra, Chorus, Soloists

Instrumentation: Picc./Fl. | Ob. | Cl./B.Cl. | Bsn. | Hn. | Tpt. | Tbn. | Tba. Perc. x2/3: Rain St., Ratch., B.D., S.D., T-t., Glock., Xyl., Mar., Cymb., Temp. Bl., Wind ch., Vibras., Flex.) soloists: Ten., Bari., Mezzo. Chorus: c. 30 SATB Str: Written when McPherson was just 19, Ūhte is an original Opera-Film collaboration between the Alexander Gibson Opera School at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, BBC Scotland, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Martyn Brabbins. The libretto and music are by Henry McPherson, with screenplay and film-story by Ray Tallan. The principal roles were played by David Horton, Elliott Mockett, and Kenneth Reid. Commissioned as part of the conservatoire's PLUG at 10 festival, the work received positive critical acclaim, and was heralded as a landmark student collaboration between the institution's Opera and Film departments. In 2017, the film was nominated for the inaugural Scottish Awards for New Music, in the category of "Best Recorded New Work"

Ūhte (2015)

15 minutes

Solo Piano

Book of Trees is a set of illustrated miniatures for piano, based on the native trees of Herefordshire, England. Conceived for piano learners, it is a work in which the movements can be played in any order, with the prelude (doubling as an interlude) repeated ad libitum throughout. It has been performed by a number of pianists, including Gregor Forbes, Christopher Gill, Maya-Leigh Rosenwasser, and Henry McPherson, who premiered the work in March 2016.

Book of Trees (2015)

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