Alastair Borthwick is a composer and musicologist interested in exploring the expressive relationships between, and within, musical ideas that exhibit different stylistic nuances.
He tends to do this within an over-arching compositional structure rather than as a proliferation of free-floating signifiers, although sometimes an explicit dramatic narrative (e.g. the use of some sort of text) plays a decisive role in the overall coherence of a work.
Alastair composes for a wide range of instrumental and vocal combinations, from solo works for piano up to large scale choral and orchestral works. As a musicologist, he works mainly on British music since 1945 and its roots.
Lear Settings (2009). 3-part animation by Rozi Fuller. Music for parts 1 and 3 by Borthwick. Duration: 35 minutes. Arts Council England funded project. DVD film premiered at Bradford Animation Film Festival 2009.
Equiano's Lament for soloists, choir and orchestra (2007). Duration: 23 minutes. Arts Council England funded commission for Hull Sinfonietta and University of Hull choir and orchestra. Premiered at the Wilberforce International Conference, Hull City Hall.
The Dong with a Luminous Nose for soprano and chamber orchestra (2005). Duration: 15 minutes. Arts Council England funded commission. Premiered by Hull Sinfonietta and Sarah Leonard.
The Jumblies for soprano and chamber orchestra (2004). Duration: 10 minutes. Arts Council England funded commission. Performed by Hull Sinfonietta and Allison Bell.
Three Songs for Tenor and Orchestra (1990). Duration: 20 minutes. Arts Council England funded commission. Premiered by Martin Hindmarsh and the Vivaldi Ensemble at the University of Sheffield.
The Awakening for large orchestra (1989). Duration: 18 minutes. Shortlisted for performance by the Society for the Promotion of New Music.
Sighs Resound (for piano, flute and oboe). Commissioned by the Ellipsis Trio (forthcoming November 2017).
Snake Lines (for pithkiavli, piano, guitar and electronics). Performed at the Museum of Archaeology in Nicosia, Cyprus (July 2014). Erasmus funded. Revised and performed in Hull (2016).
Helical Time (an open ended song cycle for combinations of baritone voice, violin, piano and trumpet with instrumental pre-/inter-/post-ludes):
‘Time Being', for baritone voice and piano. Duration: 4 mins. In Tsang, L. & Venables, P. (eds) Finding Ursula Vaughan Williams: An Anthology of New Songs for Voice and Piano, with an Introduction by Lee Tsang (York: University of York Music Press, 2010). Performed as part of Ursula Vaughan Williams: In Memoriam which featured 12 new commissions.Lee Tsang (baritone); Peter Sproston (piano). Recorded live to video for online use. Beverley Minster and Middleton Hall, April 2010, Chinese University of Hong Kong 2013. ISMN M 57036 187 8.
‘Days', for baritone voice, piano, trumpet and violin (a setting of the poem by Philip Larkin). Performances (as part of the whole ‘helix') in Hull and Chinese University of Hong Kong, March 2013.
Angel (for arpeggione and electronics). Duration: 8 mins. First performed Nicolas Delataille, University of Hull, April 2012.
Exspecto Vitam for piano (2008). Duration: 3 minutes. Performances by Julian Jacobson (Hull, London).
In Memoriam - CAthErinE DAlE for piano (2006). Duration: 4 minutes. Commissioned for the Beijing Modern Music Festival, 2005. Premiered by Xiang Zou. Other performances in London (Julian Jacobson), Cyprus.
Lacuna Lullaby for Cello and Piano. (1996). Duration: 10 minutes. Score held by British Music Information centre. Premiered by players from the London Sinfonietta at the Royal Festival Hall 1997 as part of the State of the Nation Festival. Other recent performances in Beijing (Contemporary Music Festival 2006) and Cyprus (Musical Liaisons concert 2008).
String Quartet (1995). Duration: 13 mins. Received a Dio award from the Arts Council of Great Britain. First performed by the Bingham String Quartet at the Go West Festival, Haverfordwest, Wales, September 1995.
Numerous piano compositions, songs and small ensemble pieces spanning the period 1983 to 1995 (i.e. pre-Hull).
Telling God's Story for SATB (2005). Duration: 5 minutes. Runner up in BBC/St Martin in the Fields carol competition, 2005. First performed by Hull University Chapel Choir, December 2005.
O Logos for SSAATTBB (2002). Duration: 7 minutes. Recorded by Royal Holloway Choir, London. CD RR1016.
Beverley Minster Variations for soprano and organ (2000). Duration: 7 minutes. First performed by Andrew Love and Emma Trow in the Beverley Fine Arts Millennium Concert, April 2000.
Peace for SAB (1997). Duration: 3 minutes. First performed by the University of Hull Chapel Choir at Beverley Minster, March 1997.
The May Magnificat for SSAA (1996). Duration: 7 minutes. First performed by the University of Hull Motet Choir.
Eternity for SATB (1996). Duration: 2 minutes. First performed by the University of Hull Chapel Choir.
Me for SATB (1996). Duration: 5 minutes. First performed by Beverley Minster Choir.
Three Poems by ee cummings for SATB (1991). Duration: 10 minutes. Including a commission by the choir Cantico for a six-concert tour of the North West of England.