Philip Spratley

Philip Spratley was born at Newark in 1942 and grew up at Balderton, then a sleepy village near the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire border. He attended the Magnus Grammar School where his main interests were music and cricket. He invented many novel ways during the winter months to avoid rugby. At 15 he was an organist at nearby Coddington where his mentor, Canon J. Grinter encouraged him and insisted he take the salary of £22 a year.

After poor results at school he spent some time on the railway and also in the record department of the Times Bookshop. The award of a scholarship to the Royal Manchester College of Music (now the Royal Northern) came as a great and very pleasant surprise. Amongst his teachers were George Hadjinikos for piano, Thomas Pitfield for composition, Gwylim Jones for singing and Ronald Frost for theory.

Leaving Manchester proved to be a great jolt and shortly afterwards he moved to Essex taking up a teaching post and an organist and choirmaster post in Gidea Park. Four Years later he and his wife moved to Long Bennington where their three children were born. During a second spell on the railway the family moved to South Lincolnshire and sometime later he became Director of Music at Bourne Abbey where there had been an uninterrupted musical tradition. It was not long before he persuaded the church elders to allow him to form a mixed choir rather than an all male one. He stayed there for 19 years.

Much of Spratley's music remained unperformed until he retired from full time teaching. It was then he found time to put the polish and finish on much of his work which he felt was necessary. Many pieces had several revisions over the years including the Choral Symphony, premiered by Philip Lank and the Grantham Choral Society and the opera Rutterkin which was performed first at Bottesford and then at Grantham by his pupils at the Kesteven and Grantham Girls School.

Spratley is still active as an organist at his home church in Deeping St. James. In 2013 he and his wife were guests of the Omsk Philharmonic Orchestra in Russia who recorded his Suite 'Cargoes', 'A Helpston Fantasia' and Sinfonia Pascale'.



*Sinfonietta (Pezzo poco serioso; Arioso; Scherzo; Pezzo meno serioso) op. 6 (1964 revised 1988)
Timpani - Strings
Duration: 27'
Suite ‘Farewell, Devas Street’ (Prelude; Maggot; Ayre; Alla Gavotte; Galop) op. 9 (1954 revised 1996, 2010, 2014)
Harp - Strings
Duration: 14'
Images of Palaestina (Variations; Lullaby for Ashira; Be‘er Sheva Races) op. 10 (1976 revised 1982, 2013, 2015)
Picc.2.(alto ad lib.).2.2.2. - - Timpani - Percussion (4) - Harp - Strings
Duration: 10'
*Suite ‘In Outlaw Country’ (Kirkgate; Notturno; Scherzo; Blidworth; Trenterello) op. 12b (1971 revised 2007)
Trumpet - Harp - Strings
Duration: 4'30"
Lindis ‘Poem for orchestra’ op. 21 (1977)
Soprano solo (vocalise) - 2.1.cor anglais.2.2.contra bassoon - - Timpani - Percussion - Organ - Strings
Duration: 12'
A Christmas Rondel op. 23 (1979)
Picc. - - Timpani (4) - Triangle - Glockenspiel - Harp - Organ (ad lib.) - Strings
Duration: 6'
†Concertino ‘A Gallery of Cats’ (Alla Giga; Alla Pavana; Corante; Lamentoso; Ostinato; Alla Valse; Rigadoon) op. 26 (1981)
Recorder - Strings
Duration: 13'
*Concertino ‘Byard’s Leap’ (Senza misura - Adante pastorale; Larghetto et desolato; Allegro non troppo) op. 27 (1979 revised 2006)
Clarinet in Bflat - Timpani - Percussion (Bass drum - Cymbal - Wood block) - Strings
Duration: 17'
Violin Concerto (3 movements) op. 35 (1991 revised 2002-4, 2009)
2.1.cor anglais.2.2 - - Timpani - Percussion (5) - Harp - solo Violin - Strings
Duration: 33'
An Autumn Symphony (Samhain; Elegy; Scherzo; Collect) op. 56 (2008-2009)
Picc.2.alto fl.2.2.2 - - Timpani - Percussion (4) - Organ (ad lib.) - Strings
Duration: 40'
Bishop Hatto ‘Cantata’ op. 58 (2009)
Baritone solo - 1.1.2.bass clarinet.1.alto saxophone - - Timpani - Percussion - Piano - String
Duration: 26'
*A Helpston Fantasia ‘Suite for small orchestra’ (Maestoso - Poco allegro - Disonsolate sailor - Bath waltz - Devil among the taylors - Betty Brown - Poco allegro - Cadenza - Albert - Black eyed Susan - Lovely Nancy (L‘istesso tempo) - Allegro - Turnpike gate - Saxe Coberg - Roodalum Irish) op. 59 (2010) - - Harp - Strings
Duration: 14'
A Belvoir Suite (At the Castle; Elegy for Isobel; The Girl with the Long Dark Hair; Trudy and Toffee) op. 60 (2010)
Flute solo and Strings
Duration: 14'
*Sinfonia Pascale (Allegro tempestoso - meno mosso - agitato; Notturno tristo (Adagio) - Allegro ma poco a poco agitato - Più mosso - Tempo primo - Moderato - Tempo primo - Grave - Meno mosso; Chacony (Maestoso) - L‘istesso tempo - Più mosso - Risoluto) op. 64 (2010)
3.2.2.alto saxophone.2. - - Timpani - Percussion - Harp - Strings
Duration: 40'
*Suite ‘Cargoes’ (Quinquireme (Allegretto) - Allegro; Stateley Spanish Galleon (Andante maestoso) - Poco andante - Tempo primo - Alla sarabanda - Lento; Dirty British Coaster (Allegro) op. 66 (2012)
2.1.cor anglais.2.2. - - Timpani - Percussion (Anvil - Bass drum - Cymbal - Gongs - Glockenspiel - Side drum - Tam-tam - Triangle - Whip - Wood blocks - Xylophone) - Harp - Piano - Strings
Duration: 20'
Concerto da Chiesa (Intrada; Fanfare; Passepied; Alla Siciliana; Interlude; Fresh Ayre; Elegy; Sarabande; Danza Irlandese; Notturno; Toccata [Easter in the Snow]) op. 74 (2013-2014)
Picc.2.alto fl.2.cor anglais.2.2 - - Timpani - Percussion - Harp - Strings
Duration: 22'

Orchestral Arrangements

A Lyric Suite (Grieg) (Norwegian Melody; Springdance; Shepherd‘s Boy; Norwegian Dance; To the Spring; March of the Dwarfs [Troldtog])
2.2.cor anglais.2.bas clarinet.2. - -Timpani - Percussion (Cymbals - Glockenspiel - Tambourine - Tenor drum - Triangle) - Harp - Strings
Duration: 16'
Grand Choeur No. 1 (Hollins)
Picc.2.2.2.bass clarinet.2. - - Timpani - Percussion (side drum) - Strings
Duration: 8'
Passacaglia (Handel)
Brass ( - Timpani - Organ
Duration: 8'

Band (Wind and Brass)

‘Christmas Tidings’ A Medley’ op. 36 (1992)
Concert Band
Duration: 9'
‡Magdalena Suite (Musette; Polonaise; Minuet; March 1; March 2) op. 40 (1997)
Concert Band
Duration: 12'
Suite ‘In Hereward Land’ (Flight of the Wake; Lady Catherine's Clock; Fenland Sunset; At John Grinter's [Waltz]; March of Robert de Brunne) op. 32 (1997 revised 2005)
Concert Band
Duration: 24'
An Outlaw‘s March op. 2 (1960)
Concert Band
Duration: 8'
Penny Lace op. 11 (1970)
Brass Band
Duration: 10'

Choral with instrumental accompaniment

A Choral Symphony (The Seasons; Scherzo; The Sleep of Spring; Song of Praise) op. 28 (1983 revised 1995, 2005)
Double SATB choir - Picc. bassoon. - - Timpani (two players)- Percussion - Harp - Piano - Organ - Strings
Duration: 54'
All in the morning op. 41 (1998)
SATB and Organ
Duration: 4'
A Seasonal Praise op. 47 (Lo, in the wilderness; God is love; Teach me my God and King; Veni Creator Spiritus) (1999)
SATB choir, Brass, Percussion and Organ
Duration: 15'
Four Bible Ballads (suite of songs) (Jonah; Elijah; Joseph; Amos) op. 42 (1972 revised 1999)
2-part choir (second part is optional) - Flute - Clarinet - Percussion (tuned and untuned) - Keyboard - Bass - Guitar (minimum scoring Flute - Clarinet - Piano)
Duration: 15'
Lo, in the wilderness (1999)
SATB and Organ
Duration: 4'
Lobe den Herren (Hymn) (1978)
SATB choir - Pic. - - Timpani - Percussion - Organ - Strings or
SATB choir, Brass and Organ
Duration: 5'
Missa Festivo op. 29 (1984)
Double SATB choir, Brass, Timpani and Organ
Duration: 22'
The ‘Oldfield Psalms’ (Psalm 95; Psalm 94; Psalm 65) op. 48 (2002)
SSATB choir and Band
Duration: 16'
Suite of Old English Carols ‘Carol Fantasia’ (Came the Angel [Angelus ad Virginum] tr. Gabriel Gillet; A Virgin most Pure [trad. Shropshire]; Sans Day [trad. Cornwall]; This Endris Night [trad. English 15th Century]; Wassail Song [trad. Lancashire]) op. 71 (2012)
SSATB and Organ
Two Masefield Songs (Trade Winds and Beauty) op. 3 (1960)
SSA and Harp
Duration: 5'
When all thy mercies
Soprano solo, SSA choir and Organ
Duration: 4'15"

Unaccompanied Choral

A Seasonal Carol Book (25 Carols) op. 34 (1990)
SATB a cappella
Duration: 2'-3' each
Four Seasonal Carols (O, Have you Heard [Hereford]; Fountain of Christ's Blood [Hereford]; Angel Gabriel [Hereford]; Wassail Song [Lancashire]) op. 51 (2006)
SATB a cappella
Duration: 9'
If ye would hear (Advent Carol) (1994)
SATB a cappella
Duration: 4'30"
New Year Carol (1986)
Soprano solo, SATB a cappella
Duration: 4'30"
Three Tea Songs (O come ye tea thirsty Restless Ones; Tea! Thou sober sage and venerable liquid; Now Stir the Fire) op. 17 (1975)
SATB a cappella
Duration: 5'

Instrumental Music

A month of Sundays for organ set 1 op. 67 (2011)
A month of Sundays for organ set 2 op. 69 (2011?)
Eleven Interludes for organ op. 53 (2008)
Fourteen Choral Preludes for organ op. 46 (1999)
Hymn Tune Miniatures for organ set 1 op. 61 (10 short pieces) (2010)
Hymn Tune Miniatures for organ set 2 op. 62 (2010)
Nine Interludes for organ op. 54 (2008-2009)
Sonatina for clarinet and piano op. 18 (1975 revised 2013)
Duration: 12'
Three Miniatures (Christmas Piece; Shepherd's Field; New Year Piece) op. 72 (2012)
Piano solo
Duration: 8'


First Love (song cycle) (First Love; The Secret; My Love is like a pleasant thought; Winter Winds; I met a pleasant maiden) op. 25 (1981)
Tenor voice and piano
Duration: 10'


Rutterkin op. 14 (1971 revised 1994 -1995)
Duration: 135'
The Three Strangers op. 20 (1977 revised 2002, 2007)
Duration: 75'

†published by Peacock Press
‡published by Bandleader
published by Animus


Philip Spratley: Music for String Orchestra

Catalogue Number: TOCC0088
EAN: 5060113440884
Release Date: 6 July 2009
Duration: 72:10

Sinfonietta, Op. 6
Clarinet Concertino, Byard’s Leap, Op. 27
Recorder Concertino, A Gallery of Cats, Op. 26
Suite, In Outlaw Country, Op 12b

Philip Spratley, conductor
Linda Merrick, clarinet
John Turner, recorder
Tracey Redfern, trumpet
Eira Lynn Jones, harp
Royal Ballet Sinfonia, orchestra
Barry Wordsworth, conductor
Manchester Sinfonia, orchestra
This CD reveals a fresh, original and immediately attractive voice in British music. Philip Spratley, born in Nottinghamshire in 1942, has his roots in English folksong and his compositions are strongly evocative of the countryside – though animated by a rhythmic vivacity and drive that recalls Shostakovich, Britten and Tippett. Spratley’s music also abounds in memorable melodies, and his ability to write tunes with the ring of folksong about them reveals him as a true heir of Holst and Vaughan Williams.

Philip Spratley: Orchestral Music, Volume Two

Catalogue Number: TOCC0194
EAN: 5060113441942
Release Date: 2 December 2013
Duration: 75:43

Cargoes: Suite for Orchestra after John Masefield
A Helpston Fantasia
Symphony No. 3, Sinfonia Pascale

Siberian Symphony Orchestra, orchestra
Dmitry Vasilyev, conductor

This second Toccata Classics recording of music by Philip Spratley, born in Nottinghamshire in 1942, opens with the atmospheric orchestral suite Cargoes, inspired by John Masefield’s famous poem, and continues with a sparkling folksong medley based on fiddle tunes by another poet, John Clare. The main work here, Spratley’s Third Symphony, which had its initial impulses in visits to North Wales and Jerusalem, traces a path from tension to triumph.

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