This composer webpage is in the process of being finalised. In time we will have further details about the availability of scores and performing material for the majority of works listed here. In the meantime, should you have any particular enquiry about any of the music listed, then please contact Bardic Edition.
Born in London on 28th April, 1930, his early education was at Taunton School, Devon, and later as scholar at the Royal Academy of Music, London. Following further period of education at Durham University, he studied composition with Lennox Berkeley. In 1964, after a period of school teaching, he became senior assistant in music presentation at the BBC. The following year he was appointed tutor in music at the Oxford University Department for Extramural studies, a post he relinquished in 1982 in order to devote more time to his creative work. Alongside his composition, he was active as a writer and broadcaster, also traveling widely as a pianist and examiner.
In 1986, John Ogdon wrote of his 'extraordinary abilities as a pianist'' but although he shied away from making too many concert appearances, he did release 4 CD albums (1 of British music including two works of his own) for Kingdom Records.
Headington's music is beautifully crafted: its powerfully expressive and warmly lyrical qualities are already evident in the Violin Concerto (1959), whose 1991 recording by ASV (with Xue-Wei as soloist and the London Philharmonic Orchestra) brought him wide recognition. The chamber music, in particular the String Quartet No. 2 and the Piano Quartet, is cogently argued and serious in tone: the finale of the Third String Quartet, composed in celebration of Haydn's 250th anniversary, ingeniously reworks material from the latter's Quartet op. 77 no. 2. Headington also wrote with assurance for his own instrument: the Cinquanta and Ballade-Image, both for solo piano, reflect his admiration for Debussy and Chopin, achieving an ideal balance between brilliance and poetry. Equally significant are his vocal works, among them the song-cycle, The Healing Fountain, an eloquent memorial tribute to Britten which Headington ranked as his finest achievement.
Shortly after the recording of his Piano Concerto for ASV (with Gordon-Fergus Thompson as soloist), Christopher travelled to Switzerland for a skiing holiday where he died in an accident on March 19, 1996 aged 65.
LIST OF COMPOSITIONS
Variations on an Original Theme (1950) - Piano and Orchestra
Introduction and Allegro (1951) - Chamber Orchestra
Violin Concerto (1959) [Bardic Edition]
The Healing Fountain (1978) - Medium Voice and Orchestra
Sinfonietta (1985) - Chamber Orchestra
Bassoon Concerto (1990)
Piano Concerto (1991)
Time (1992) - Piano and Strings
Greenwich Time (1992) - Piano and Strings
Serenade (1993) - Violoncello and String Orchestra
Violoncello Sonata (1953)
String Quartet No. 1 (1953)
Oboe Sonatina (1960)
Four Pieces (1963) - Violin and Piano
Adagio and Capriccio (1966) - Viola and Piano
Five Descant Duets (1969) - Recorders
String Quartet No. 2 (1972)
Piano Quartet (1978)
Canzona (1978) - Brass Ensemble
Shrewsbury Variations (1981) - Violin and Piano
String Quartet No. 3 (1985)
Bassoon Sonata (1988)
Elgar Variations (1993) - Violin, Horn and Piano
Midsummer (1995) - Narrator, Oboe and Piano
Party Piece (1995) - Two Pianos, Four Hands
Five Preludes (1953) - Piano [J. W. Chester/Novello] - available through www.musicroom.com
Piano Sonata No. 1 (1955)
Cheerful Tune (1959) - Piano [Joseph Weinberger]
Sad Pastoral (1959) - Piano [Joseph Weiberger]
Italian Dance (1959) - Piano [Joseph Weinberger]
Adventures with Twelve Notes (1959) - Piano
Scottish Dance (1959) - Piano
Prelude and Fugue (1959) - Organ
Flute Sonatina (1960) - Solo Flute [Bardic Edition]
Scherzo (1960) - Solo Violoncello
Barcarolle (1960) - Piano [Joseph Weinberger]
Prelude (1961) - Solo Vibraphone
Toccata (1962) - Piano [J. W. Chester/Novello] - available through www.musicroom.com
Elegy (1968) - Piano
Piano Sonata No. 2 (1974)
Scherzetto (1980) - Solo Tuba
Ballade-Image (1982) - Piano
Piano Sonata No. 3 (1985)
Cinquanta (1986) - Piano
Wedding Piece (1989) - Piano
Lied und Wilder Tanz (1991) - Solo Violoncello
Spring Flowers (1993) - Piano
Now That You're Gone (1993) - Piano
Romantic Rumba (1993) - Piano
The Time of Your Life (1993) - Piano
Nuit Tombante (1950) - Mixed choir a cappella
Five Poems of Robert Herrick (1954) - Mixed choir a cappella [Bardic Edition]
Hear My Prayer, O Lord (1960) - Mixed choir a cappella
O Magnum Mysterium (1960) - Mixed choir a cappella
Nunc Dmittis (1960) - Mixed choir a cappella
Lord, I Have Called (1966) - Male voices a cappella
Man's Redemption (1966) - SATB choir a cappella [Faber Music]
Put on The Whole Armour of God (1966) - SATB choir and Organ
A Bradfield Mass (1977) - Choir, Congregation and Organ
A Wedding Anthem (1988) - Mixed choir a cappella
In Commendation of Music (1992) - Mixed choir a cappella
Three Poems of Rilke (1961) - Medium Voice and Piano
Reflection of Summer (1965) - Medium Voice and Piano
Towards a Pindaric Ode (1965) - Medium Voice and Piano
A Clouded Starre: Six Poems by Henry Vaughan (1975) - Low Voice and Piano
Stage, Film, Arrangements etc.
The Wise Man and the Foolish (1950) - Film Music
Chanson de l’eternelle tristesse (1957) - Ballet
The Trojan Women (1993) - Incidental Music for Chorus and Orchestra
The Season's [Tchaikovsky] (1993) - Solo Violin and String Orchestra
Sketches, Unfinished Compositions etc.*
Berkeley Bouquet - ?
Fantasia on a Theme of Bach - ?
Land of Dreams (Blake) - Voice and Piano
Out on the Lawn I Lie in Bed (Auden) - Voice and Piano
Psalm 90 - ?
Rhapsody No. 3 - ?
Scottish Reel - ?
Sheep in the Shade - ?
Sonatine - ?
Song of Unending Sorrow - ?
Three Shakespeare Sonnets - ?
Variations on a Theme of Brahms - ?
Viola Concerto - ?
*These works were found in a listing of titles registered with the PRS (Performing Right Society) but they were not included on the list of compositions provided to us by Christopher Headington at the commencement of our publishing association. As a number of his manuscripts have still to be located, it is hoped that when found, the above listed pieces will be clarified.
The Orchestra and its Instruments (Bodley Head, London, 1965)
History of Western Music (Bodley Head, London, 1974; 1980)
Illustrated Dictionary of Music Terms (Bodley Head, London, 1980)
The Performing World of the Musician (Hamilton House, London, 1981)
Britten (Eyre Methuen, London, 1981)
A Listener's Guide to Chamber Music (Blandford Press, London, 1982)
Opera: A History (Bodley Head, London, 1987)
Sweet Sleep: An Anthology of Lullabies (Garamond - date unknown)
Peter Pears: A Biography (Faber, London, 1992)
Bach (Pavilion Books/Classic FM - date unknown)
Chopin (Pavilion Books/Classic FM - date unknown)
Contributions to the following anthologies:
Franz Liszt - A Symposium (Barrie & Jenkins, London, 1970)
The Dictionary of Composers (Book Club Associates, London, 1977)
Building a Library (OUP, Oxford, 1979)
The Britten Companion (Faber, London, 1984)
A Companion to the Concerto (Christopher Helm, London, 1988)
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Classical Music (Salamander Books, 1989)
The International Dictionary of Opera (St. James Press, Chicago, 1993)
A Guide to Classical Composers (Colour Library Books, 1994)
He also wrote for:
The Inventions that Changed the World (Readers Digest, 1982)
The Fontana Biographical Companion to Modern Thought (Fontana, 1983)
Pictures and Pleasures (Kingdom Records - CD: KCLCD 2002; Cassette: CKCL 2002)
Russian Trinkets - Piano Miniatures from 19th Century Russia (Kingdom Records - CD: KCLCD 2008; Cassette: CKCL 2008)
Sir Lennox Berkeley - Selected Compositions for piano solo (Kingdom Records - CD: KCLCD 2012; Cassette: CKCL 2012)
20th Century Piano Music - “A Tunnel of Time” (Kingdom Records - CD: KCLCD 2017; Cassette: CKCL 20017)
These CD albums can be obtained from all good record stores or failing that write direct to:
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In the case of stage works, application should be made to the publisher or its agents. Outside the UK please contact the relevant hire or sales agent for advice.
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