East London Heys was written at the invitation of Simon Foxley and Chris Shurety for the East London Late Starters’ Orchestra, to whom I was happily assigned as composer-in-residence in 1985. Originally intended as teamwork ‘teaching pieces (quartets, sextets, nonets without making excessive technical demands on the performers) I eventually grouped them together into a set of nine movements, subsequently extracting some and rearranging them for wind quintet. They ‘hey’ is an English folk dance, or possibly a ‘figure’ in Morris dances: and these pieces allude to an imagined ‘folk music’ (variously English, Irish or Scottish) which I’d been using and reinventing since 1969 (Folk Song Set).
First Performance: ELLSO, 1986
These nine lively movements can be performed individually or together as a set, allowing flexibility in programming. None make excessive technical demands on the performers, but each is musically substantial enough to engage able players. They were originally written for string orchestra but exist in an arrangement for chamber orchestra.
ELLSO (with funds from London Arts Board)