THE MUSIC OF FREDERICK STOCKEN -
Two Symphonies, Violin Concerto, Lament for Bosnia
Frederick’s first work for full orchestra was his Violin Concerto, which was written for Adam Summerhayes, and he performed it with the Surrey Sinfonietta, conducted by Jonathan Butcher, at St John’s Smith Square. The premiere of Frederick’s First Symphony (Symphony for the Millennium) was conducted by Vernon Handley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall and broadcast on Classic FM. His Second Symphony was premiered by the Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Blair, at St John’s Smith Square. Lament for Bosnia, for string orchestra, was commissioned by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, and it was top of the classical charts in Tower Records for several weeks. It has had numerous performances and broadcasts since its premiere at the Barbican; conductors of it include John Lubbock and Charles Hazlewood. Frederick conducted it himself with the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, and with the Strings of the Royal Academy of Music at the opening of the Imperial War Museum's permanent Holocaust exhibition.
"At last a young English composer has chosen to write accessible, beautiful music which is unashamedly passionate and melodic."
A. N. Wilson writing about Frederick's Lament for Bosnia in The Evening Standard.
"Stocken's work will also prove popular with players for he has written very much a showpiece for the violin."
Paul Cutts reviewing Violin Concerto in The Strad.
Alice - a major commission from Germany
Frederick was commissioned by the Stadttheater in Giessen, Germany, to write a 45-minute orchestral ballet based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice through the Looking Glass to commemorate 100 years since Carroll’s death.
It received ten initial performances with Herbert Gietzen conducting, and the choreographer was Roberto Galván.
"Frederick Stocken has written a surprisingly melodic score specially for this entertaining spectacle, reminiscent of the late romantics." Thomas Schmitz-Albohn reviewing Alice in Giessener Anzeiger (translated).
"Stocken has managed to create something like a 'symphony of the city' that is relevant for our time, which make you feel breathless but sometimes invites you to rest." Guntram Lenz reviewing Alice in Wetzlauer Neue Zeitung (translated).
A range of commissions from Chichester Cathedral to Highcliffe Junior Choir
Frederick’s first commission was for choral music – from Battle Parish Church – just after graduating from Cambridge. He was commissioned to write Missa Pacis for the Brompton Oratory by Peter Sefton-Williams – a large-scale setting for choir and orchestra. Other commissions include Prayer of St Thomas à Kempis for Highcliffe Junior Choir and The Prayer of St Richard of Chichester for the choir of Chichester Cathedral, published by Banks Music. The Southern Cathedrals Festival 2019 commissioned The Chichester Service, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Come to your Heaven You Heavenly Choirs was commissioned by the Worshipful Company of Musicians and recorded on the Priory Label by the choir of St Michael’s Cornhill conducted by Jonathan Rennert. Refugees’ Carol was also performed at Cornhill. Frederick’s last-verse re-harmonization and descant for Hark the Herald Angels Sing was broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 in 2019.
"The Agnus Dei of his Mass was beautiful and quite striking with ladders of woodwind rising against the sound of solo singers,
soon to be shattered by the sound of war"
John Amis reviewing Missa Pacis in The Tablet.
"Most striking amongst all the confidently delivered and firmly led choir contributions was the first performance of Come to your Heaven, ye heavenly choirs, last year's commission, fulfilled by Frederick Stocken ..... if only more contemporary composers knew how to
engage the willing attention of their listeners."
Graham Matthews writing in Preserve Harmony, the journal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
Varied works written for Frederick's own instrument
Writing for the organ has come increasingly to the fore in Frederick's composition of the last decade.
Archangels and Faith, Love, Hope are published by Banks Music. Archangels has been especially popular, notable performers of the work including Gordon Stewart, Philip Berg, and Paul Greally. Frederick played Hope at the end of a live broadcast of the Christmas Midnight Mass on BBC One in 2015. ‘Gott Fried o frommer treuer Gott’ was commissioned for the Orgelbüchlein Project by Rebecca Hirst and Patrick Hartley was premieried by William Whitehead, and other notable performers of it include Anne Marsden Thomas,
Tom Bell, and Jeremiah Stephenson.
Frederick has himself given several premieres of his organ works, for example Gothic Fantasia at St George’s Hanover Square.
He played God is our Refuge at the end of BBC Radio 4 Sunday Worship in 2017.
"Stocken has an individual voice... He writes with clarity, economy and a good grasp of idiom.
His music is refreshingly free from grandiose complexity."
Thomas Leech reviewing Archangels in The Organists' Review."
"This is deeply felt and thoughtful music".
Huw Morgan writing about Faith, Love, Hope in Church Music Quarterly
SOLO AND CHAMBER MUSIC
Writing for an array of instruments
Bagatelle was written for the pianist Mark Tanner and recorded on the Priory Label. Top of the Morning for flute and piano was published by OUP in Flute Time Pieces 1, ed. Ian Denley. A piano duet version of the First Symphony was performed by the piano duettists Philip Moore and Simon Crawford-Phillips.
Gaudete in Domino was commissioned by the handbell choir of Rikkyo University in Tokyo and first performed in May 2019.
"The brief Bagatelle (2008) by Frederick Stocken is a bittersweet treat, fully expressed in tonal terms. One can almost taste Tanner's enjoyment." Colin Clarke reviewing the recording of Bagatelle in Fanfare Magazine.
ORGAN AND PIANO TUTORS
Composing for educational resources
Frederick’s Scale Shapes published by Chester Music flowed from his early piano teaching.
More recently Frederick has collaborated with Anne Marsden Thomas on other tutors.
For their two volumes of Graded Keyboard Musicianship, published by Oxford University Press, Frederick wrote all the original music.
"Every teacher and student of keyboard harmony will find helpful material and fresh perspectives in these thoughtful volumes,
and the compilers' holistic approach to the development of these skills is invaluable."
Stephen Farr writing about Graded Keyboard Musicianship in Choir & Organ.