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An overview of my published music

The first enthusiasm of my musical life was the making of clavichords and harpsichords, so it was natural that I became obsessed by Early Music.

My first three Anthologies of English (and Welsh) Music reflects my identification with the poetry of Dowland, Peerson, Purcell and Croft and, as I progressed with the harp, with searches for original harp music. John Parry, the famous blind harpist, wrote much distinguished music for the Triple Harp and his sonata in D major is a fine example.

In the Romantic Era, I was seduced by the Nocturnes of John Field and their extraordinary influence on the great composers who came after him. Chopin, Liszt and of course Parish Alvars who left an important legacy of poetic and virtuosic music to the harpist.

I have always been inspired by traditional folk songs and love setting them in guises which reflect the words. We have only one verse of "Summer is icumen in" and its landscape reminded me of a Breughel painting, so, when the first verse is repeated, it is accompanied by bagpipes and the sounds of drunken revelry! However, the cuckoo has the last word.

It was thrilling to find the Harp Trio of J.C.Bach and rare that the solo harp part was written expressly for the instrument. It was written for Edward Jones, a Welsh harpist who was living in London. It was written for the single action harp (not the Welsh Triple) as the wonderful Fanny Burney describes in one of her letters.

My Petite Suite was written in Paris, where, as a student I was completely frustrated to be kept on scales and studies for one year and so I have been composing ever since. Now, the work is played by harpists all over the world and the last movement, Fire Dance, is a popular favourite.  

The Dance Suite has four movements which are also suitable for 'encores'- The Bolero having a similar sultry atmosphere as Salome's "Dance of the Seven Veils" by Richard Strauss.

Spanish Music has also been one of my great passions and so I transcribed two of my favourite Dances from Falla's "Three Cornered Hat" Ballet and the harp is rather a good substitute for the guitar.

I was so angry and upset when we went to War in Iraq and the subsequent suffering because of the Asian Tsunami that this Passacaglia is a prayer for all those who were affected.

"A Welsh Landscape" was a 'thank you' to Rosalind Sharples, painter, poet and harpist. It is a short Suite which incorporates "David of the White Rock" and "Miller's Song". There are also three Sea Interludes.

Victor Salvi commissioned the "Concertino Pastorale", a work which is scored for the same combination as Ravel's "Introduction and Allegro". It is written in a piquant neo-classical style with a haunting and poetic slow movement.

The seeds of my "Concerto Grosso" for two harps and strings were sown at Marriel Nordmann's domain in France, The Chateau de Courtempierre and is subtitled the "Courtempierre Concerto". It is in a 'Faux Baroque' style and was written for the American Harp Duo, "Tick Tock".

J.C.Bach's delicious Concerto in G (Sinfonia Concerto) was performed by the harpist wife of Louis XVI's Valet at the "Concerts Spirituels," in Paris.

Florent Schmidts strange and beautiful work for Chromatic Harp and String Quartet was worthy of a transcription for pedal harp, which I did for Salabert, the french music publisher.

The Six Easy Pieces (for harp and piano) are extracted from my "Complete Method for Harp" and a useful addition to the beginners repertoire. The Method was written when I was far too young- but, fortuneately I did not say too much. The volume is stuffed with many useful exercises and observations.

The Monograph on Ravel's "Introduction and Allegro" is a detailed overview of the whole work. Ravel himself stated that the work could be improved with performances with string orchestra! This information will help harpists to feel less guilty when performing it with a bigger body of strings.

David Watkins



Music For A While On the Wales Coast Path - Adlais 2023

Sonata - Mr Naderman comes to Wales - Adlais 2022

The Birth of the Moon over the Marsh of Rhuddlan - Adlais 2021

Petite Suite - Adlais 2019
Prelude - Nocturne - Fire Dance

The Bells of Moreville - Adlais 2016

A Garland for the Harp - Adlais 2014

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - Adlais 2009

A Welsh Landscape - Adlais 2007

Passacaglia In Memoriam Tsunami - Adlais 2005

Four Anthologies of English Music - Stainer and Bell

1. 1550 - 1650 Faruaby, Morley, Byrd, Bull, Dowland, Peeron, Johnson and Gibbons
2. 1650 - 1750 Croft, Purcell and Blow.
3. 1750 - 1800 John Parry and Arne.
4. 1800 - 1850 John Field and Parish Alvars.

Four Folk Songs - Stainer and Bell
Scarborough Fair, Now is the month of Maying, Barbara Allen and Summer is i'cumen in.

Sonata VI for Harp, Violin and Cello, J.C.Bach - Stainer and Bell

Dance Suite - Salvi
Renaissance Dance, Lament, Bolero and Hungarian Flute Dance.

Three Pieces  Manuel de Falla - J + W Chester
Corregidor's Dance - Hommage to Debussy and The Millers Dance.

Concertino Pastorale for harp with flute, clarinet, string quartet (or string orchestra) - Salvi

Concerto Grosso for two harps and string quartet (string orchestra or piano) - Salvi.

Sinfonia Conceto - for harp and strings J.C. Bach  - Salvi     

Harp Quintet (Harp and String Quartet) Florent Schmitt - Salabert

Six Easy Pieces - Boosey and Hawkes.

Complete Method for Harp - Boosey and Hawkes.

MONOGRAPH - Analysis and History of Ravel's Introduction and Allegro.

The David Watkins Collection - David Watkins / Creighton's Collection 2009 - 2014

VOLUME I - 'ADAGIO and RONDO' K617 WA Mozart
VOLUME IA - A keyboard accompaniment for I above.
VOLUME II - 'DIALOGUE' for Harp and Harpsichord (or Keyboard)
VOLUME VI - 'QUEEN MARY'S ESCAPE from Loch Leven Castle'
VOLUME VII - 'ELIZA is the FAIREST QUEEN' Edward Johnson
VOLUME IX - 'IMPROMPTU' (1972) Roger Nichols
VOLUME X - 'DUO' P J Hinner
VOLUME XA - A Full Score for X above.
VOLUME XIII - THREE FOLK SONGS for violin and harp
VOLUME XIV - SONATA V CF Abel for violin and harp
VOLUME XIVA - SONATA V CF Abel for harp and string quartet
VOLUME XV - SONATA in G minor PJ Meyer
VOLUME XVI - SONATA in C No IV JS Bach for Flute or Violin & Harp
VOLUME XVII - LARGO from the Concerto for Two Violins JS Bach for Two Violins & Two Harps
VOLUME XVIII - ARIA Con Variazioni GF Handel for Solo Harp
VOLUME XIX - VARIATIONS on a theme of Spohr from the Opera Faust Philip Jacob Meyer for Solo Harp
VOLUME XX - SONATA in C K545 WA Mozart for Solo Harp
VOLUME XXI - SONATA in C Vivaldi for Violin (or Flute) and Harp with optional Cello part

First Easy-Medium Grade Volume - The Clive Morley Collection 2008

First Medium-Difficult Grade Volume - The Clive Morley Collection 2008

Reviews of Published Music

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SOME REVIEWS AND LETTERSon Compositions and Arrangements

"A thousand thanks for the lovely Folk Songs. So economically set and so atmospheric-perfect! I shall speak of them when ever possible."
Geoffrey Parsons distinguished Accompanist. January 1988

Quarterly Journal of Music Library Association, Havard University

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Review of "Folksongs for voice & harp" by Jane Weidensaul, December 1988

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American Harp Journal 

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Review of "Folksongs for voice & harp" by Barbara Chapman, Summer 1988

To download a file to your computer
Windows: Right click the text link and select "Save target as .."
Mac: Hold down option and click on the text link
To open file click image & PDF will open in a new window - but you need Adobe Acrobat Reader Installed

"The Bell" Magazine (Stainer and Bell) Summer 2000

"Regarding the Western Harp repertoire, few living musicians have done more to alert our attention to its still untrapped richness than Watkins himself. A tireless editor, arranger and, composer, he is also compiler of Stainer and Bell's four volume "Anthology of English Music for the Harp"
(My Editorship for Stainer and Bell was recommended by Bob Thurston Dart)

"Once again I congratulate you on your very beautiful Concertino Pastorale, Camilla and myself enjoyed tremendously your music and your magnificent performance."
Andre Panufnik January 1979
After David Watkins' performance of his "Concertino Pastorale" at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Philarmonic conducted by Walter Susskind


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