Thomas Wilson (composer)

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For other people of the same name, see Thomas Wilson (disambiguation).

Thomas Wilson CBE (10 October 1927 – 12 June 2001) was a Scottish composer of classical music.

Thomas Brendan Wilson was born in Trinidad, Colorado, USA, to British parents, but moved to Scotland with his family when he was 17 months old. They settled in the Glasgow area where he lived and worked for the remainder of his life. Thomas Wilson was educated at St. Mary’s College, Aberdeen. He served in the RAF from 1945 to 1948, and subsequently read Music at the University of Glasgow.

Career[edit]

Thomas Brendan Wilson said that he not only wanted to be a composer, he said that he had to be one. There was an inner compulsion - he felt as though he had no choice in the matter. One of the first honours graduates in music from Glasgow University, Wilson became a lecturer at his alma mater in 1957. He was later appointed a Reader (1971) and given a Personal Chair in 1977. He consistently played an active part in the musical life of the UK, holding executive and advisory positions in such organisations as the Scottish Arts Council, The New Music Group of Scotland, The Society for the Promotion of New Music, The Composers' Guild of Great Britain (Chairman 1986-89) now the British Association of Composers and Songwriters, and The Scottish Society of Composers (of which he was a founder member).

His works have been played all over the world and embrace all forms - orchestral, choral-orchestral, chamber-orchestral, opera, ballet, brass band, vocal music of different kinds, and works for a wide variety of chamber ensembles and solo instruments. Wilson completed five symphonies, the fourth of which, Passeleth Tapestry, was premiered by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Bryden Thomson on 6 August 1988 in Paisley Abbey.[1] He also completed several concertos and choral works. His largest work was an opera, Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1972–75), commissioned by Scottish Opera and based on the novel by James Hogg.

Wilson was awarded the CBE in 1990. The following year he was awarded an honorary DMus Degree from Glasgow University and created a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

The 80th anniversary of Thomas Wilson's birth on 10 October 1927 was marked by a performance of the composer's St Kentigern Suite on 17 January 2008 by the RSAMD Chamber Orchestra, and by a performance of the composer's Violin Concerto also in January 2008 by the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.

A biography co-written by David Griffith and Margaret Wilson and edited by Prof. Karl Gwiasda has been completed and published in 2011 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of his death. The music critic, Michael Tumelty recently described Wilson in the Glasgow Herald (12/02/2011) as "a gently magisterial composer and one of the wisest and most philosophical musicians I have met".

Works[edit]

Orchestral works[edit]

  • Symphony No. 1 (1955)
  • Symphony No. 2 (1965)
  • Symphony No. 3 (1979) Commissioned by Musica Nova.
  • Symphony No. 4, Passeleth Tapestry (1988; numbered as a symphony 1996) Commissioned by Renfrew District Council together with Strathclyde Regional Council to mark Paisley's 500th anniversary as a Burgh of Barony.
  • Symphony No. 5 (1998) Commissioned by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
  • Concerto For Orchestra (1967)
  • Concerto For Piano and Orchestra (1985) Commissioned by Bryden Thomson for David Wilde and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • Viola Concerto (1987) Commissioned by James Durrant with assistance from the BBCSSO Trust.
  • Violin Concerto (1993) Commissioned by the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and BP for Ernst Kovacic.
  • Guitar Concerto' (1996) Commissioned by Phillip Thorne.
  • Variations For Orchestra (1960)
  • Pas De Quoi (1964) Six little dances for strings.
  • Touchstone (1967) Commissioned by the BBC for the Sir Henry Wood Promenade Concerts.
  • Threnody (1970)
  • Ritornelli Per Archi (1972) Commissioned for the Edinburgh Festival by the Scottish Baroque Ensemble.
  • Mosaics (1981) Commissioned for Cantilena by Radio Clyde.
  • Introit (1982) Commissioned by BBC.
  • St Kentigern Suite (1986) Commissioned by The Friends of Glasgow Cathedral.
  • Carillon (1990) Commissioned by Glasgow city council in 1990 as part of its European City of Culture celebrations, as the inaugural work to celebrate the opening of the city's new Royal Concert Hall.
  • Toccata for Orchestra (1959)

Choral works[edit]

  • Ave Maria/Pater Noster (1967)
  • Night Songs (1967) Commissioned by the John Currie Singers
  • Missa Pro Mundo Conturbato (1970) Commissioned by the John Currie Singers.
  • Te Deum (1971) Large Chorus. Commissioned by the Edinburgh Festival for the opening concert on the occasion of its 25th Anniversary.
  • Sequentiae Passions (1971) Large Chamber Choir. Commissioned by Musica Nova.
  • Ubi Caritas et Amor (1976) Commissioned by the Baccholian Singers for the City of London Festival.
  • Songs of Hope and Expectation (1977) Chamber Choir Commissioned by the John Currie Singers.
  • Amor Christi (1989) Chamber Choir. Commissioned the Scottish Philharmonic Singers.
  • Cantigas Para Semana Santa (1992) Commissioned by Cappella Nova
  • Confitemini Domino (1993) Commissioned by the Royal College of Organists to celebrate their 100th Anniversary

A Cappella Masses

  • St. Augustine (1955)
  • Mass in Polyphonic Style (1960)
  • Missa Brevis (1960)
  • Mass based on a Bach Chorale(1961)

Operas[edit]

  • The Charcoal Burner Opera in one act. 8 characters. Libretto: Edwin Morgan. (1968) Commissioned by the BBC.
  • The Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1975) Opera in 3 acts. 3 main characters plus chorus Libretto: John Currie (based on the novel "The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner" by James Hogg). Commissioned by Scottish Opera.

Ballet[edit]

Brass band[edit]

  • Sinfonietta (1967) Commissioned by the Scottish Amateur Music Association for the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland.
  • Cartoon for Cornet (1969) Commissioned by Robert Oughton and the Scottish CWS Band.
  • Refrains and Cadenzas (1984) Commissioned by the Cheltenham Festival and used as the test piece for the European Championships in 1984.

Vocal[edit]

  • By The Waters Of Babylon (1951) A Capella
  • Three Orkney Songs (1961) Commissioned by the BBC. Sop/Bar and Quintet.
  • Six Scots Songs (1962) Commissioned by the Baccholian Singers for the City of London Festival. Voice and piano.
  • Carmina Sacra (1964) Orchestral / Version also for voice and keyboard.
  • My Soul Longs for Thee (1967) SSA and Organ.
  • Night Songs (1967) Commissioned by the John Currie Singers. A Capella.
  • One Foot In Eden (1977) Commissioned by Josephine Nendick. Orchestral / Version also for voice and piano.
  • The Willow Branches (1983) Seven Songs from the Chinese. Commissioned by Marilyn de Blieck. Orchestral / Version also for voice and piano.

Carols[edit]

  • A Babe is Born (1967)
  • There Is No Rose (1974)

Chamber works[edit]

  • String Quartet No. 2 (1954)
  • String Quartet No. 3 (1958) McEwen Composition Prize
  • String Quartet No. 4 (1978) Commissioned by the Edinburgh String Quartet.
  • Violin Sonata(1961) Commissioned by the University of Glasgow.
  • Concerto Da Camera (1965) Commissioned by Bernicia Ensemble.
  • Sonatina For Clarinet and Piano (1962)
  • Pas De Quoi (1965) Six little dances for strings.
  • Piano Trio (1966) Commissioned by the Scottish Trio
  • Sinfonia for Seven Instruments (1968) Commissioned by the University of Glasgow
  • Sonata For Cello And Piano (1971) Commissioned by Glasgow Chamber Music Society.
  • Canti Notturni (1972) Commissioned by the Clarina Ensemble.
  • Ritornelli Per Archi (1972) Commissioned by the Scottish Baroque Ensemble for the Edinburgh Festival.
  • Complementi (1973) Commissioned by Clarina Ensemble.
  • Mosaics (1981) Commissioned for Cantilena by Radio Clyde.
  • Chamber Concerto (1985) Commissioned by the New Music Group of Scotland.
  • St Kentigern Suite (1986) Commissioned by the Friends of Glasgow Cathedral, on the occasion of the Cathedral's 850th anniversary.
  • Chamber Symphony (1990) Commissioned by Paragon Ensemble and Glasgow District Council as part of the celebrations during Glasgow's reign as European City of Culture 1990.
  • Threads (1996) Commissioned by Duo Contemporain.
  • Sunset Song (2011) arranged by Kenny Letham from incidental music originally commissioned by the BBC.

Instrumental[edit]

  • Sonatina (1956) For Piano.
  • Sonata (1964) For Piano.
  • Three Pieces - Reverie, Tzigane, Valse Viennoise (1964) For Piano. Later arranged for two guitars.
  • Fantasia (1964) For Cello.
  • Soliloquy (1969) For Guitar. Commissioned by Glasgow Master Concerts for Julian Bream.
  • Three Pieces (1971) For Guitar.
  • Coplas Del Ruisenor (1972) For Guitar. Commissioned by Angelo Gilardino.
  • Cancion (1982) For Guitar.
  • Incunabula (1983) For Piano.
  • Dream Music (1983) For Guitar. Commissioned by Phillip Thorne.
  • Toccata Festevole (1991) For Organ. Commissioned by the Paisley International Organ Festival.
  • Chanson De Geste (1991) For Solo Horn. Commissioned by Redcliffe Concerts.

Incidental Music[edit]

  • The Face of Love (1954) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • Witchwood (1954) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • Glencoe (1955) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • Susannah and the Elders (1955) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • Storm (1956) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • Oggs Log (1956) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • All in Good Faith (1957) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • A Nest of Singing Birds (1957) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • The Boy David (1957) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • For Tae Be King (1957) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • The Great Montrose (1958) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • The Wallace (1959) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • Enquiry (1960) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • Brush Off the Dust (1964) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • Checkpoint (1965) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1965) Commissioned by BBCTV
  • Robert Burns (1965) Commissioned by BBCTV
  • A Season for Mirth (1966) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • A Spell for Green Corn (1967) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • Ships of the ’45 (1968) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • The March of the ’45 (1969) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • Sunset Song (Part 1 of A Scots Quair) (1971) Commissioned by BBCTV
  • The New Road (1973) Commissioned by BBCTV
  • There was a Man (1980) Commissioned by Radio Clyde
  • Summer Solstice (1980) Commissioned by Radio Clyde
  • The House with the Green Shutters (1980) Commissioned by BBC Radio
  • Cloud Howe (Part 2 of A Scots Quair) (1982) Commissioned by BBCTV
  • Grey Granite (Part 3 of A Scots Quair) (1983) Commissioned by BBCTV
  • Voyage of St Brandon (1984) Commissioned by BBCTV
  • Murder Not Proven (1984) Commissioned by BBCTV
  • Gaudi (N.D.) Commissioned by BBCTV
  • The Castle of May (N.D.) Commissioned by BBCTV

Recordings[edit]

Works which have been recorded include:

  • Cancion for Guitar (2003) Tuomo Tirronen; MSR Classics MS1214
  • Cancion for Guitar (2008) Stefan Grasse; Xolo CD1015
  • Cancion for Guitar (2009) Allan Neave; Delphian DCD34079
  • Cartoon (1995) West Lothian Schools Brass Band; Polyphonic Reproductions Ltd. QPRL075D
  • Cartoon (1998) Royal Norwegian Navy Band; Doyen Series DOYCD083
  • Cartoon (2000) West Lothian Celebrity Winds; 'Celebrations'
  • Cello Sonata (1993) Alla Vasilieva & Alexei Smitov; Russian Disc RDCD00680
  • Chamber Symphony (1993) Paragon Ensemble; Continuum Ltd. CCD1032
  • Complementi (2011) Daniel's Beard; Meridian CDE84607
  • Confitemini Domino (2005) Bearsden Choir; Norsound NM-050344
  • Coplas del Ruiseñor for Guitar (2008) Stefan Grasse; Xolo CD1015
  • Fantasia for 'Cello (1993) Alla Vasilieva; Russian Disc RDCD00680
  • Incunabula for Piano (2001) Johannes Wolff; Hastedt Verlag & Musikedition HT5322
  • Incunabula for Piano (2009) Simon Smith; Delphian DCD34079
  • Introit (1988) Scottish National Orchestra; Queensgate Music
  • Piano Concerto (1988) Scottish National Orchestra; Queensgate Music
  • Piano Sonata (1991) Peter Sievewright; Merlin Records MRFD891706
  • Piano Sonata (2001) Johannes Wolff; Hastedt Verlag & Musikedition HT5322
  • Piano Sonata (2009) Simon Smith; Delphian DCD34079
  • Piano Sonatina (2001) Johannes Wolff; Hastedt Verlag & Musikedition HT5322
  • Piano Trio (2009) Delphian DCD34079
  • Refrains and Cadenzas (1997) Grimethorp Colliery Band; Chandos Brass CHAN4549
  • St Kentigern Suite (1990) Scottish Ensemble; Virgin Classics Ltd. VC7 91112-2 260421-231
  • St Kentigern Suite (1996) RSAMD Chamber Orchestra; RSAMD
  • String Quartet No. 3 (2009) Edinburgh Quartet; Delphian DCD34079
  • Sinfonietta for Brass Band (1997) National Youth Brass Band of Scotland; Amadeus AMSCD027
  • There is no Rose (1998) Cappella Nova; Rota RTCD001
  • Three Pieces for Guitar (1997) Allan Neave; BGS Records BGCD104
  • Three Pieces for Guitar (2009) Allan Neave; Delphian DCD34079
  • Three Pieces for Piano (2001) Johannes Wolff; Hastedt Verlag & Musikedition HT5322
  • Violin Concerto (1993) National Youth Orchestra of Scotland; NYOS Records NYOS001

Biography[edit]

A biography[2] of Thomas Wilson written by his widow, Margaret Wilson, and David Griffith was published by Queensgate Music in August 2011.

External links[edit]

  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "Thomas Wilson: Introit - Towards the Light eBook: David Griffith, Margaret Wilson: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-12.