Mark Simpson, Richard Uttley
Event 5
Monday 16th October, 8:00pm 
Little Missenden Church

In praise of young musicians and fine English music
Gerald Finzi
Five Bagatelles
Mark Simpson
Echoes and Embers
John Ireland
Mark Bowden
Newly Commissioned Work
Arthur Bliss
Herbert Howells
Clarinet Sonata

This is an archived event from the 2017 Programme.

Mark Simpson clarinet  Richard Uttley piano




Two brilliant young musicians, composer and clarinettist Mark Simpson, and pianist Richard Uttley come together to celebrate the rich tapestry that is English music.

Finzi composed three pieces for clarinet in 1941. After serving in the army he wrote a fourth piece, and added the finale in 1945, completing his charming Five Bagatelles. The composer dismissed the pieces as 'only trifles’ but did concede they ‘got better notices than my decent stuff.’

Mark Simpson’s own work Echoes and Embers compares and contrasts extremes: stoicism and emotion, calmness and agitation, weakness and power. A small scale chamber work it makes a fascinating contrast to his larger, orchestral pieces.

Written in 1943, Ireland’s Fantasy-Sonata was inspired by the Roman satirical poem Satyricon, and Ireland's time in Guernsey as an evacuee during WWII. Although written in the form of a sonata, there is no obvious conclusion to the piece. Changes in tempo and tone challenge the abilities of the performers in this unusual piece.

Mark Bowden is one of Britain’s most celebrated and exciting young composers. His recent work Five Memos received a British Composer Award last December. Mark is currently Reader in Composition at Royal Holloway, University of London and Chair of the British section of the International Society for Contemporary Music. Click here to read what inspired his Festival commission.

The short, intimate and gently lyrical Bliss Pastoral is an early work (c.1916) written in memory of his brother, who was killed in the war.    

Although Howells is best known for his religious music, his Clarinet Sonata is a small jewel in his repertoire and his last significant chamber work.


 We would like to thank the John Ireland Charitable Trust for supporting this concert

The Mark Bowden commission is supported by the Little Missenden Festival Friends and the Michael Cox Fund



At just 17, Mark Simpson became the first person to win both the BBC Young Musician and Young Composer of the Year awards.  Bachtrack described his Mirror Fragments as ‘…fabulously rich and technically very accomplished.’ Richard Uttley graduated from Clare College, Cambridge with a double First in 2008: ‘I was enthralled by his composure, lyricism and ability to hold a moment without forcing it’ The Guardian


Mark Simpson & Richard Uttley play Echoes & Embers