Frederick’s interest in composing began when he was fourteen and developed at University, where he specialised in this area. Although largely self-taught, he considers himself to be an “eclectic” composer, able to write in many styles and formats, as befits the occasion.
Compositions to date include 2 Concerti for Orchestra, 2 Symphonies, a ballet suite “The Legend of Pandora”(premiered by BSO in July 2017), chamber and vocal music. “Three Sacred Songs” was composed for and premiered by La Nova Singers directed by Michelle Nova in May 2017.
In September 2018, his “Double Concerto for Bass Tuba and Contrabass Tuba” was premiered by Andy Wyatt, Mike Johnson and Bolton Symphony Orchestra and the Bass Clarinet Concerto was premiered in March 2019 by its dedicatee, Gerry Green.
“Aubade Pastorale” was performed by The Amaretti Chamber Orchestra in May 2019, while Bolton Chamber Orchestra will give the first performance of “Renaissance Dance Suite” during 2021.
A Violin Concerto is being specially composed for the leader of Bolton Symphony, Anita Levy. This will be premiered in 2021, as will a “Requiem” for women’s voices and chamber orchestra, dedicated to Michelle Nova and La Nova Singers. A ballet based on the Mexican Day of the Dead Festival is also in the works.
In May 2020, Freddy received an award from the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Foundation, having been nominated for a prize by Sir James MacMillan. In October of the same year, Freddy was runner-up in the King Lear Arts Competition, his entry being the best in the Chairman’s Prize music field of the competition.
He is also working on a 3rd Symphony and on a proposed ballet based on the legend of Pandora, having been in discussions with the choreographer Wayne McGregor.
String Quartet No.2
My 2nd String Quartet was composed during the current Coronavirus pandemic and its style is definitely affected by this period. I would describe the music as a strong statement of mind.
In complete contrast to my relatively straightforward 1st Quartet, which is in 4 movements, the present work is in one uninterrupted movement, divided into five parts, with an epilogue.
The intervals of the major 7th and minor 2nd are a strong feature of the music, which contrasts intensely static passages, which are nevertheless uneasily tranquil, with furious and violent sections, often marked triple forte in certain passages.
The opening “Lento” flows serenely but mysteriously as if awaiting some kind of resolution, using motifs rather than fully-fledged themes(of which there are very few). The viola makes an urgent and violent protest, later to be imitated by cello, as if to disrupt the serenity, until the second section bursts in with barely-controlled energy and fury.
This “Allegro feroce” is strongly accented and relentless in its forward momentum, the tension maintained almost throughout until the music suddenly quietens down, pizzicato passages leading to the next section.
The “Adagio Sostenuto” initially resembles plainsong, all four instruments in unison(muted) playing a smooth line which rises and falls, the dynamics remaining “pp” and “senza vibrato”. The line breaks into harmony based on the interval of a perfect 5 th , eventually leading to a passage reminiscent of the very opening of the work. A brief crescendo leads to another quiet unison passage which becomes more fragmented and unsettled, first and second violins announcing an aggressive idea which becomes the initial impetus for the fourth section.
This “Presto Furioso” is even more violently energetic than the second section and at one point, alternates between 3/8 and 4/8, making the music sound even more unsettled. This is music with a strong sense of purpose as well as absolute fury. After a very short scalic passage, the final section begins “Grave” and “pp” with a sustained unison “C”, growing in power with exaggerated vibrato to a series of crunching discords and a wildly disconcerting episode featuring swirling upper strings and impassioned cello solo. The music dies away to the Epilogue.
The concluding part of the work calls for a recorded cello playing a pizzicato pedal, over which violins and viola play a series of overlapping (tonal) triads, giving the music a slightly warmer but still mysterious sound. The recorded cello’s pedal notes slow down until a final powerful discord from the 4 instruments dies away, leaving the “sighing” motif of the very opening of the work to have the last word.
© 2020 Freddy Naftel