Gary Higginson

List of Compositions


Three Easy Seasonal Preludes on well known hymns (A/B)


The tunes involved are ‘Horsley’ (for manuals), ‘Noël Nouvelet’, and ‘Conditor Alme Siderum’ and these are arranged in a mildly pungent and pleasant modern idiom with keyboard demands that could be mastered by Mrs Thing (q.v.).


Plainsong and Toccata (B+)

On  ‘Resonent in Laudibus’ 


The piece is intended for the opening of a Christmas service.  The choir sing the famous tune unaccompanied from, eg, the west door and then process while the organ plays a brilliant Toccata; when this is over the choir should be in the stalls and they then sing a third verse unaccompanied.  Tried and true with Gary and his forces, this will make an arresting start to the season’s festivities.  The vocal pages may be copied without charge.


Two Organ Preludes (B+)

on Medieval Carol melodies 



The tunes are the Song of the Nun’s of Chester and Angelus ad Virginem, both treated with Gary’s customary sophistication and lightness of touch.


Two Pieces      (A/A+)

Prelude and Fughetta in the Dorian Mode;  Meditation for Communion at Prime



These are two relatively early pieces in Gary’s restrained disciplined style. Gary’s teacher Edmund Rubbra said he ‘really liked the fugue subject’ and Gary has always been fond of this little work. They make minimal technical demands - perhaps ‘multum in parvo’ would be an applicable description.



Song of Joy    (B)

5 copies and more £4.00 each


This piece is for soprano solo, Girl’s (or Treble) Chorus and Harp and was written for the choir of Selwyn College Cambridge and their director, Sarah Macdonald, who have now made a commercial recording of the work which will be available shortly. The piece sounds lovely of course (difficult to make ugly sounds with these forces !)


Peter’s Miraculous Catch of Fish (C)



This is a sort of miniature tone-poem lasting just under 6 minutes, expressing in music the well-known biblical story. The idiom is quite challenging but the piece ‘works’, both as a concept, and in execution.



Preces and Responses (B)




The composer says of this work: ‘These Preces and Responses were originally written between December 1993 and January 1994, and first performed in Exeter Cathedral by the senior choir of St. Margaret's School, Exeter, as part of an Evensong service. It had been on my mind to adapt them for SATB and to do something which, which so far as I know, is unique, that is to keep the soprano and alto parts unchanged and simply to add tenor and bass lines. This means that the upper parts can learn and sing them either together, or in the full choir, which, with church or amateur choirs, might be useful, e.g., when on a tour.’



Two Preludes on Whitsuntide Plainchants (A)

Veni Sancti Paraclete - Veni Creator



Written for specific organs and their players these simple pieces are lightly dissonant, but the setting of these ancient melodies is sensitive and evocative.



O Dear ! What can the matter be ? (B)




This part-song, originally published by Oecumuse, has now been newly computer-set with a new easy-to-read lay out.



Away in a Manger op 59

Four Versions of the well-loved carol (A/B)

Op 59 A Original version for voice with simplified keyboard part £1.00
Op 59 B Version for solo voice and harp, but also playable on a keyboard £2.00
Op 59 C For treble/soprano voices divisi, altos and keyboard £2.00
Op 59 D For Unaccompanied Choir £2.50
  All Four Together £4.00







This is one of Gary’s favourite tunes which he has used from time to time in these variants. To some extent the versions may be combined according to circumstances.



Five Improvisations on a Cantus Fermus op 2 no 2 £5.00


Like other compositions in Gary’s list of works, this piece is a reworking of ideas first conceived in student days, but reworked and expanded with the experience of a lifetime’s composing.
Gary says in the introduction ‘
Although called a ‘ Firmus’ in that an almost identical melodic line runs through the entire work, mostly in the bass, one could possibly also think of the work as a Chaconne.’



Pilgrims to St. James (C) £10.00


This attractive and evocative recital piece is a sort of tone-poem about a visit to Santiago de Compostella, in north-west Spain, best described by the composer himself:
'My piece begins at Mountjoy the highest point before reaching the city when it all lies before you for the first time. This is emphasised by rising block chords flowed by ecstatic rushing scales. Next comes the Pilgrim Hymn, which I now know is called –‘Els Cants deis Romieus’ and which I heard played on a Galician bagpipe outside on the square of the Obradoiro in June this year. Soon after comes, first using its final bars and then the complete 12th Century hymn ‘Angelorum in curia’ and then the complete ‘Nostra phalans plaudit leta’ found in the huge manuscript known as the Codex Calixticus. The rest of the piece develops and juxtaposes these melodies and various tempi often in irregular rhythms and sometimes out of control in its joy. The piece ends in a flurry of scales.'





Six Birds (B/B+)

2 Soprano or Treble Voices and Harp

Kestrel - Magpie - Owl - Peregrine - Geese - Dunlin

1 Copy £5.00,
5 and more £3.75

All right, this is a highly unusual offering for us, but it is a lovely little work (C.5.00 min.) if you have the forces. It has already been seized upon by a Cambridge choir who have pledged to spread the good news.



Two Pieces (C)

Morning’s Air and Dance


Gary has been with Fagus ever since Oecumuse folded, and thus we are delighted to handle these harp pieces which have been selected for the harp list for grade 7 of the Trinity Guildhall School of Music.

In the Garden (C)


Five charming pieces for the progressing student, annotated by Danielle Perrett.


Eight Pieces in Jazz style (B)


These are interesting teaching and examination pieces in a slightly unusual genre. Given the idiom, they will be found first rate exercises in rhythmic security.



Eight Pieces in Jazz Style (B+)


 This issue is an adaption for piano from the suite of the same name originally composed for harp. The transcription is effective and will provide grade 3 or 4 players excellent exercises in rhythmic security, and a challenge in evoking the spirit of these picturesque pieces.


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Last updated: 03/03/23 19:10:52