THE COMPLETE WORKS
compiled by Paul Hindmarsh
Wilfred Heaton (1918 – 2000) composer, conductor and teacher, was born in Sheffield on 2 December 1918, the younger of two children of John, a cutler, and Miriam Heaton. The Heaton family were members of the Sheffield Park Corps of The Salvation Army. John Heaton was the bandmaster and his wife had a fine singing voice. It was natural therefore for young Wilfred’s musical talents to be nurtured through The Salvation Army. He began piano lessons at the age of eight and soon after was learning the cornet and composing music of his own. His long life in music was underpinned by wide-ranging interests in the arts, in philosophy, and by his strong religious background and faith. At times during, however, this creative impulse was often tested and questioned.
Heaton left school at 14 to become an apprentice in a small brass instrument repair business in Sheffield, Cocking and Pace, where, apart from war service in the RAF, he remained until he closed the business in 1963. At 18 he gained his LRAM in piano, but was largely self-taught in composition. Heaton noted on a page of his last work, the autobiographical Variations, “I got help initially from a crippled SA musician [George Marshall], who had a very sound harmonic instinct, but who stressed contrapuntal studies above all; then from a local music master who initiated me into the wider world of chamber and orchestral music; and finally, a lot later [the 1950’s] Matyas Seiber, whose instruction on Bach studies was invaluable. These are three with whom I had personal contact, but along with other inspiring composers – the scores of the 18th century German giants and the 20th century masters”.
It was expected that Wilfred would dedicate his musical talents to the Salvation Army, and in his own words, he continued to “do a good job” for the 'Army' throughout his life. A number of pre-war pieces, like the March Praise and the Meditation Just as I am, have become favourites throughout the brass band world. Others, like the Toccata, eventually found their way into print many years later.
In his 20’s and early 30’s, Wilfred’s musical ambitions extended beyond the brass band to orchestral, vocal and chamber music. By the 1950’s, Heaton's life began to take a different course. He had taken up the french horn and had begun to work as a peripatetic brass teacher, a move which in 1963 took the Heaton family to Harrogate. Much of the day-to-day work of instrument repair was left in the hands of Herbert Cocking, son of the former owner. When Cocking moved to the United States in 1964, the Sheffield business was closed. Wilfred played in a number of teachers’ orchestras and ensembles. He was a founding conductor of the Dales Sinfonia. He formed and conducted the local schools youth orchestra. Between 1962 and 1969 he was Musical Director of the Leeds Symphony Orchestra. In 1970 he spent some months as resident Musical Director of the Black Dyke Mills Band.
However, as his professional activities increased, Heaton’s own creativity went into decline. He continued to arrange music for all the performing groups with which he was involved, but he composed very little. Another note on the score of Variations offers further explanation: “…all compositional ambitions were brought to a halt through my contact with Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposphical movement. Involvement in this seemed to dry me up. I lost the impulse to compose. Such an activity seemed unimportant compared with the spiritual impulses provided by Steiner.” Most of his spare time was now dedicated to a systematic exploration of the philosophical and spiritual disciplines postulated by Steiner in his prolific writings. Heaton came to an understanding of Steiner’s approach to life, spirituality, reincarnation and karma through the influence of Arnold Freeman, professor of English Literature at Sheffield University and Warden of the Sheffield Educational Settlement, where from 1947 Heaton had enrolled for and later taught on courses on the arts, humanities and music. Steiner advocated techniques for the development of awareness to nature's cycles, of daily meditation, reading and clear critical thinking, leading in the fullness of time to higher levels of spiritual consciousness and clairvoyance. Heaton followed this path systematically for over half his life.
However, from time to time he was persuaded out of this creative semi-retirement, most notably in 1973, when he completed Contest Music, his only non-Salvation Army work published in his life-time. In his later years Wilfred was pleased, but always appeared surprised, at the appreciative reception his music was by then receiving.
Although he never re-gained his old fluency, he was encouraged by family and friends – particularly the conductor Howard Snell - to take up his composing pen once again. After the death of his wife and his own retirement from teaching, there was a welcome “Indian summer” - including Partita, two substantial concertos and two marches which, like Contest Music, were re-worked from earlier works, and his final Variations, the only brand new work of his later years that was almost finished when he died. Wilfred Heaton once said to a colleague there would be some surprise at what would emerge from his “unregarded corner”. He was quite right. Most of this music has been realised for performance by Howard Snell and Paul Hindmarsh. It is testimony to Heaton’s integrity, his strength of creative spirit and his acquired skills that he was able so successfully to re-cast his youthful musical off-spring some forty years or more after their conception.
Because of the lack of accurate composition dates, Heaton's music is listed according to genre and in alphabetical order
HF Heaton family
HS Howard Snell
KD Kenneth Downie
Mss Manuscript sources
PHM PHM Publishing
SA Salvation Army Territorial HQ, London
SP&S Salvationist Publishing & Supplies Ltd.
WHE Wilfred Heaton Edition
WHT The Wilfred Heaton Trust (www.wilfredheaton.fsnet.co.uk)
The date of composition of this substantial work is not known. It's style and structure owes much to the influence of the Salvation Army composer George Marshall and the episodic tone poems that characterised his output. This would suggest that it dates from the 1930's.
This treatment of 'Mine eyes have seen the Glory' was written for the band of the Leeds Central Corps of the Salvation Army, which performed it in the 1970s. The manuscript score and parts appear to have been mislaid.
1. Short score sketch, in ink and complete in outline. It contains many amendments and cancellations. The third movement is particularly vague in detail. Containing a number of alternatives and notes about continuation, much of it hardly legible.
2. A neat, revised short score in pencil, written during the final phase of work. The first two movements are almost complete and there are some insert pages also in pencil.
3. A large number of sketches and early drafts.
Publication: 2006, SP&S (The Judd Street Collection), realised by Paul Hindmarsh
Wilfred Heaton began to assemble material for Beulah Land in the early 1990s following a request from the Amsterdam Staff Band of the Salvation Army for a new work. At this stage in his career, he would accept such invitations only if there was material he could adapt, revise or re-write. It may be that the original ink sketch was penned many years earlier. Despite reminding himself on the manuscript that he should either complete the work or destroy it, Heaton did not manage either task before his death. This performing edition was prepared during the Autumn of 2003 for the Amsterdam Staff Band (Howard Evans) to feature on an American tour.
Composed in the late 1940s, this work was played to the International Music Board of The Salvation Army by the International Staff Band. It was not selected for publication at that time and the parts, minus a solo cornet part, were retained by the Music Department. Heaton revised the music for the New York Staff Band in the late 1980s.
Heaton's most celebrated brass band work was elaborated from three composition 'exercises' (according to the composer) written in the early 1950s. The finished work was commissioned for the 1973 National Brass Band Championship finals, but not used for the event until 1982.
This work is based on the Little Suite for recorder and piano. It is possible that the sketch was prepared in response to an invitation from Philip Biggs to write a test piece for the All England Masters Championship in 1990. Heaton left the work in sketch form. The first performance of Five Little Pieces was given at the Grieg Hall, Bergen on 16th January, 2002 by the Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag conducted by Howard Snell.
Wilfred Heaton composed this thoughtful meditation from earlier sketches on the tune French (also known as Dundee) probably in the 1960s. The score was lost and the composer did not look at it again until the last weeks of his life. He died before completing the new version, which has been realised from the surviving sketch material. The composer included two alternative endings, one short and loud and one more extended and quiet.
Full Salvation was first performed by the Fairey Band at the Great Northern Brass Arts Festival, 12 September 2010, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.
Glory! Glory! is a unique work in the brass band literature of the twentieth century, taking the traditional brass band march into previously unchartered territory. According to brass band conductor Bramwell Gregson, who discussed the work with the composer, it was composed in the 1940s, but was destroyed because Heaton's father did not like it. The new version was re-composed either from memory or from sketches no longer extant in 1988 and 89 in response to an invitation from composer Peter Graham for a short work to mark the centenary of the Regent Hall Corps of the Salvation Army, where he was then the bandmaster.
In the original Trio, Heaton looks back nostalgically to his youth with a musical encounter, in Charles Ives style, between a Salvation Army band and Boy's Brigade buglers on the march. The out-of-tune bugles disrupt the progress of the Army band, reaching a crescendo and then fading into the distance, like ghosts of past generations.
Heaton had misgivings about this Trio section, refusing to publish it and only reluctantly agreeing to release it for further performances. Feeling that the programmatic element 'outstayed its welcome', he composed a shorter, more full-blooded alternative, which cuts out the out-of-tune buglers altogether. This second version has been included in this edition and can be performed in place of the original if a more concise performance is desired.
The Golden Pen was given its first performance on 3rd February, 2001 in Manchester, at the Royal Northern College of Music Festival of Brass by the Williams Fairey Band, conducted by Howard Snell. A recording was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 29th June, 2001.
Prepared for the Tewit Youth Band, possibly from an earlier Salvation Army march, Le Tricot Rouge received its first performance on 10 September 2000, in Symphony Hall, Birmingham, performed by the Black Dyke Band, conducted by Nicholas Childs (and recorded by BBC Radio 3).
In The Salvation Army Song Book, this tune is associated with words calling for repentance from the death of sin. In this setting, dating probably from the late 1930s, Heaton offers three reflections on the tune, full of subtle harmonic variants, simply but effectively scored.
Mercy's Light, which emerged in the 80's, was probably composed in the 1940s. It is an extended waltz. The elegance of Ravel's Valse Nobles et Sentimentales, and the objectivity of a Satie Gymnopedie, combine with nostalgic echoes of pre-war popular music to provide the context for a beautiful tune set by Erik Leidzen. The first draft is much more heavily scored than the final version.
My Master's Will might be thought of as a sequel to Just As I Am. The tune used is The Fairest of Ten Thousand, used for the words 'At Thy feet I bow adoring, bending low and lower still'. Heaton's original name for the work was Adoration. Brian Bowen, who was working in the editorial department when the work was published, recalled how the name came to be changed:
I was working in the editorial department in London when this score came to light (I assume it was new from Heaton) and was played by the ISB (I played flugel then). Heaton's score was titled Adoration and I pointed out to the head of the department that the title had already been used by Bramwell Coles much earlier and published. The editor changed it without Heaton's knowledge to My Master's Will, a much less appropriate title to my mind, as the music speaks so much more of adoration (as indeed the text of the song makes clear). I love the piece.
In 1947 and 48 Heaton composed his first original work for brass band, without any Salvation Army associations. It was a Suite for brass band written under the pseudonym Paul Krask and dedicated to Eric Ball. Heaton sent the score to Ball, who at that time had just been appointed Professional Conductor of the CWS Manchester Band. Tom Hobson (a friend and former Deputy Head Teacher of Wardle High School, Rochdale) recalls that on the day of the 1950 Open Brass Band Championship, while he and his father, who was an agent in Sheffield for the SA's Rosehill Assurance and used to collect insurance money each week from the Heaton's home in Stafford Road, were walking up to the King's Hall in Belle Vue, Manchester, they were joined by Eric Ball. During their conversation, Ball mentioned that he had tried the work through with his new band, but the work had proved too difficult to perform.
In 1950, Heaton re-worked the Suite Op.1 for symphony orchestra, adding a new and vibrant scherzo. Some time later the new second movement and the finale, suitably 'modernised', were incorporated into a Piano Sonata of Bartokian complexity and intensity – his longest work. Both of these works still wait performance and the brass version was not heard for 34 years.
In 1984, two years after the successful competition 'debut' of Contest Music at the finals of the National Brass Band Championships, the conductor Howard Snell, then Musical Director of the Desford Colliery Band, asked Heaton for a new work. What turned up shortly afterwards was the original brass Suite. In a letter to Heaton, Snell wondered whether the composer might have something more substantial for a second movement than the short original Scherzo. Shortly after that a brand new brass version of the orchestral Suite appeared, now re-titled Partita and containing the updated Scherzo. Partita was performed for the first time in the 1986 by Desford and Howard Snell.
Written when Heaton was in his teens, the manuscript bears the editorial marks (in red ink) of the SA Music Editorial Department. The work was published without these alterations.
The suite has been arranged into four movements, using the following cues:
1. To be a Pilgrim – originally for piano, underscoring Christian's aspiration.
The Way of Salvation – a fast three-time movement for brass, indicative of the start of Christian's journey along the road to the Celestial City.
2. The Slough of Despond – an incisive episode for piano, slightly abbreviated, to links into Christian's prayer – for brass, marked to be played with reverence;
At the Cross – a short pastoral, originally for piano
3. The Valley of Humiliation – Christian's early struggle is expressed in some biting bi- tonality, originally on piano;
At the Celestial Gate – a vision of the Celestial City
4. Walk in the Strength of the Lord – a noble 'fanfare' leading to
Bright, Radiant, Blest – Heaton's final hymn
The first performance of the suite was given at Christchurch Priory on 27 May 2010 by Boscombe Citadel Band conducted by Dr. Howard Evans.
Ray Steadman-Allen confirms that the score of Praise was sent in to the SA's Music Editorial Department before the outbreak of War in 1939, along with a number of other Heaton works, including Passing By, Martyn and Just as I am. The SA did not publish any Festival Series music during the war period, resuming only in 1946. Praise was played by the International Staff in October that year and approved for publication. However, the backlog meant that it was not published until July 1949. It was seen through the press by Steadman-Allen, who recalls how much he 'respected his touch'.
The Sinfonia Concertante was completed in 1991, at the suggestion of Howard Snell for Martin Winter and the Britannia Building Society (now Foden's ) Band.
The first performance of this edition of Scherzo was given on 23 January, 2010 at the RNCM Festival of Brass, Manchester, by the Foden's Band, conducted by Garry Cutt.
Sweet hour of prayer was a much loved devotional song on both sides of the Atlantic during the 19th and 20th centuries. The tune Sweet hour is the work of William B. Bradbury (1816 – 1868), a celebrated New England hymn-tune writer, among whose familiar melodies are He leadeth me, I think when I read that sweet story of old, Solid rock and Jesus loves me. Sweet hour first appeared in Bradbury's final publication Bright Jewels (New York, 1869)
Wilfred Heaton made a sensitive and touching treatment for trombone and piano for his son-in-law, Bryan Stobart. This version for trombone and brass band was arranged by Paul Hindmarsh in November 2005 and dedicated "To Bryan Stobart, in friendship" .
In 1939, Heaton was invited to write a short work for the SA's music editor-in-chief, Bramwell Coles, to take on a visit to the United States. Music for brass sextet (See Instrumental Music) was the result, but it was considered too difficult was not used.
After returning from RAF war service in Egypt, Toccata was revised for full brass band and submitted to the SA Music Editorial Department for future consideration. It was rehearsed and performed by the International Staff Band at the time and rejected for publication because of its complexity. This was a great disappointment to the composer, who had travelled down from Sheffield to the Salvation Army Publishing & Supplies Headquarters in Judd Street, London to hear the reading, which the band had given to the SA's Music Board. According to his sister, who as Captain Hilda Heaton was a tutor at the SA's Training College at that time, her brother had expressed the wish that he had been able to rehearse the band in advance of the performance. He was in no doubt that he could have made them play it.
Toccata remained in a collection of manuscripts inherited by Ray Steadman-Allen, when he became the Chief Editor of the SA's Music Editorial Department. R S-A recalls that it was at the suggestion of Col. Bernard Adams, the distinguished and long-serving conductor of the ISB, that Toccata was taken out again and successfully performed, recorded and published. It was this imaginative intervention that ultimately led to the strength of the work's position within the brass band repertoire world-wide. Brian Bowen, flugel horn player when the work re-emerged in the 1960s recalls that:
There was no percussion, or certainly no Timpani part in the full score. Bert Thompson, who played timps then, told me at the time that he personally contacted Heaton, asking for a timp. part -- and got it. I always thought that a rather bold thing to do as it seems Bernard Adams wasn't involved in it at all!
The work was published without percussion as the composer intended. It is based on the verse of the American spiritual, O dem golden slippers, to which Salvationists sang the words 'Oh, the blessed Lord, he has saved my soul'
Duration: 30 mins
Dedication: 'with admiration and gratitude to Howard Snell'
MSS: HF – incomplete full score; fair copies in pencil short score of the work, with the exception of Variation 8; sketches for Variation 8
Publication: 2006, WHE(PHM) © WHT, realised by Howard Snell
Theme and variations 1 to 4 were completed by the composer in full score. Variations 5 to 7 and 9 to 12 were completed in annotated pencil short score, with some indication of instrumentation. There are also many pages of sketches and drafts, including Variation 8 (Galop), which is complete though extremely fragmentary. Howard Snell's realisation has included the scoring of Variations 5 to 12, the adjusting of certain dynamic levels – particularly in Variation 11 – and the drawing together of Variation 8, which exists in alternative versions. Howard Snell's completion and particularly his choice of ending, was made with regard to the balance and proportion of the variation and its position in the work as a whole. Towards the climax of Variation 12 (bars 538, 542 and 543), Snell has added three bars of bass figuration not in the sketch material to preserve the continuity of the line. These are given in smaller notes.
Wilfred Heaton was aware that works of the length and substance of Variations are not easy to programme in brass band concerts, as this note to Snell on a sketch page for Variation 6 makes clear: 'I do not think you will ever be able to perform the piece. It's more of a document than a blueprint for performance, because rehearsals for difficult, unfamiliar music are hardly possible while (a band) is being prepared for a contest. But you might keep the score among your souvenirs! I have no illusions about a performance in my life-time, if ever. But it doesn't matter – the task is "carried out" and the sound is in my head anyway'.
The first performance was given on Wednesday 16 January 2002 in the Logen Hall, Bergen, Norway by Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag conducted by Howard Snell.
It is clear from these remarks that Wilfred Heaton did not consider Variations to be a competition piece. However, once an episodic work like Variations is in the public domain, performances of portions of it will be considered. Therefore the Trustees of the Wilfred Heaton Trust have sanctioned the following abridged versions:
1. Theme, Variations and Chorale
Variation 1 Grazioso
Variation 2 Molto Adagio
Variation 3 Vivace
Variation 4 Tempo primo
Variation 8 La voce popolare III – Galop
Variation 11 Threnody for Charlotte Anne Stobart
Variation 12 Adagio – Allegro (Chorale)
Duration: c.18 minutes
2. La voce popolare (from Variations)
Variation 6 Marche militaire
Variation 7 Cantilena
Variation 8 Galop
Duration: c.8 mins 30 secs
3. La voce populare I, II and III may also be performed as separate items.
Victory for Me is a Ravel-inspired bolero treatment of the tune 'My beautiful Home', which is also associated with the words 'There's victory for me'. Brian Bowen was the flugel horn player when the work was first played by the International Staff Band at the Fairfield Hall, Croydon in the 1960s.
The occasion was an all-London Bandsmen & Songsters Councils on a Sunday In the afternoon session it was decided the ISB should give a demonstration of sight reading, and this was the piece handed to the bandsmen just before going on stage. I suspect Ron Symonds on side drum was shaking a bit when he saw his part, and on flugel I noticed I had some work to do at one section.
In his later years Heaton was rather dismissive (to me) of his lively cornet duet Wonderful words. "It's in the wrong key" was his response when asked what he thought of it. He considered it would be more effective at a key a tone higher. The cornet parts do lie rather low in the range at times, but there is sufficient virtuoso passage work to challenge the best of cornetists.
Other sketch material:
New Every Morning Pencil sketches
March in 6 / 8 Pencil sketches
Berceuse Elegiaque was composed as a clarinet study for Wilfred Heaton's grand- daughter Emma Stobart. It is dedicated to the memory of her sister Charlotte and was written as an exercise in smooth legato phrasing. It appears to have been composed as a theme for variations, which were not completed.
When Fine Arts Brass requested a work in 1989, Heaton re-worked a Little Suite for recorder and piano from the 1950s into a suite of Five Bagatelles. He also sketched out a different version for brass band at this time, entitled Five Little Pieces (see above).
Despite writing for two C trumpets, the first trumpet part still lies rather high in the outer movements and for substantial passages of the second. It was a request from Fine Arts Brass for some easing of this part that led to the composer withdrawing the work before it was performed. However, with the valuable practical advice of Simon Lenton, the leader of the quintet in 2002, an edition has been made for 2 trumpets in B flat, including piccolo trumpets in B flat and A for passages of extreme register.
The premiere of this piece finally took place 14 years after its preparation – by Fine Arts Brass, in St. John's Church, Chester as part of the 2003 Chester Festival, later broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
This is one of young Wilfred Heaton's first attempts at extended composition
Little Suite was composed for the blind recorder player and fellow Sheffield Anthroposophist Philip Rodgers. Whether Rodgers and Heaton, who was a fine pianist, ever performed the work in public is unknown. The first documented performance was given by John Turner (recorder) and Keith Swallow (piano) at the Royal Northern College of Music on 2 October 2001.
The original piano part has also been orchestrated for strings, a precedent set by the composer, whose own string orchestral version is lost or destroyed. (see below)
In 1939 Heaton was invited by the International Music Editor Bramwell Coles, to write a short work for a brass group to play on a forthcoming music ministry to the USA. Like a number of Heaton's other works, it was thought to be rather too difficult and was not used. Heaton called his sextet simply 'Music'. The essentials of this and the later full band re-working are the same, but there are many minor differences and a few major ones for the sharp-eared listener. The melodic writing is perhaps not as refined. The level of harmonic dissonance is considerably higher. Most surprising of all is the absence of that emphatic 'full-stop' chord at the end.
Heaton was never convinced that this chamber piece should be published, but it is one of the few surviving examples revealing now vibrant and confident the young Wilfred Heaton was, relishing his creative powers.
This brass quartet, composed in 1937, was given to long-time Heaton enthusiast, Mr. Richard Mott in 1968. Resident in Denmark, Richard Mott met Heaton on three occasions, in 1968, 1981 and 1982. Mr. Mott subsequently passed it on to trombonist Keld Jørgensen, the manager of the Royal Danish Brass. The music remained in the ensemble's archive for many years, until an opportunity arose early in 2007 for the Scherzo to receive a belated premiere, which took place on 7th January at Støberihallen in Hillerød, north of Copenhagen.
In 1946 or 47, the fast music of the Scherzo was elaborated into the first Scherzo of the Suite for brass band. Cast in ternary form, this energetic but tuneful section frames a sustained hymn like central Trio. The rhythmic impulse reveals a neo-classical thrust, informed by a Walton-like syncopation.
While the instrumentation of the work does not conform to the 'standard' brass quartet. It is likely that Heaton intended it for the quartet of young cornetists and trombonists from Sheffield Park Corps of The Salvation Army in which he played. Alternative parts for horn and euphonium are included in this edition. A version for full brass band is also published (see above).
MS: HF – the composer's undated holograph
Publication: © WHT (PHM)
In terms of their harmonic and textural content, these three short pieces, dated 1954 on the SPNM programme notice, are among the most ambitious works that Heaton composed. The principal influence on the language is Bela Bartok, the Hungarian composer whose work Heaton came to admire through his teacher Matyas Seiber. The works received their only documented performance on Tuesday 7 September 1954 in the Great Drawing Room of the Arts Council of Great Britain, 4 St. James's Square, London. The pianist was James Gibb and the concert also included works by Stanley Glasser and Elizabeth Maconchy. The occasion was the 165th monthly Studio Recital promoted by the Society for the Promotion of New Music. The SPNM had been founded by Francis Chagrin with Seiber in 1943 to give a platform for new writing by British composers. (Its work continues as a means of providing performance opportunities more specifically for emerging composers under the name Sound and Music.) Each recital was followed by discussion. On this occasion the distinguished composer and teacher Alan Bush was in the chair.
Although the composer's manuscript is undated, the programme notice published by SPNM gives the year of composition as 1954, making the Three Piano Pieces among the last works Heaton composed during his productive late 20s and early 30s.
This substantial work was composed in the early 1950s. The material is a re-working of the Suite for orchestra. Movement 1 is a re-composition of the Suite's Prelude. It is contrapuntally and harmonically much elaborated, using the principal motifs as the basis for a new work. Movement 2 remains much closer to the revised Scherzo of Partita, but re-written in terms of the piano. The third movement is new and has more in common with the melodic character of the central movement of Contest Music than the Canzona from Partita. This movement with its sustained textures, has been arranged as a Lento for string orchestra (see below) The finale is an elaboration of the original finale.
This ambitious work was left complete in its musical notes, but lacks dynamics and tempo markings. In the performing edition current under preparation, these are being supplied with reference to the orchestral and brass band originals.
Heaton composed these two short unacompanied items for a production by The Settlement Players, Christmas 1949, of two short plays.