Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Charles McCreery: Creating classical music for today's youth

Today we conclude a series of posts that covered resources for introducing children to classical music, and now it’s time to familiarize you with contemporary classical composer, Charles McCreery, whose free downloads of music compositions for piano, chamber group, orchestra and voice are an added bonus for introducing the genre, and are perfect for children who want to learn more through actual practice and performance.

A member of the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, and an associate member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, McCreery’s ELEGY FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO was short listed for the Match Composition Prize.

His sheet music, which is published through St. Maur Music, reflects tonality and is also tuneful as well as accessible for children of all ages and abilities.

Never a fan of modernist, atonal music such as Schoenberg or Stockhausen, McCreery cites the musical influences in his life as being “Tallis, Byrd, Purcell, Schubert, Chopin, and Wagner,” He says, “I am inspired by the example of the great composers I admire. Hearing their music can make one want to emulate (not imitate) them.”

One need only to listen to McCreery’s compositions and you are drawn into a world that transports and has a gentle feel. This is intentional as McCreery says; “Music is not primarily about sound, it is about meaning.” He adds, “In my opinion, a great deal of modern ‘classical music’ is without meaning -the sound is often aversive too.”

Pianist John Lill, CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) and winner who shared first prize at the 1970 International Tchaikovsky Competition describes McCreery’s music as “heartening and uplifting,” and operatic mezzo-soprano/Celtic crossover artist, Kathleen Proctor-Moore has referred to his works as “truly beautiful.”

Gifted in multiple domains, in addition to his music compositions, McCreery holds a doctorate from Oxford University for research on hallucinatory experiences in normal people, and is the author of a number of books, including Lucid Dreaming, the Paradox of Consciousness During Sleep, co-authored with Celia Green.

To help children get started, many of McCreery’s compositions are available to download free of charge by following this link to Sibeliusmusic and clicking on the folder for the individual score group, which will then provide a drop down menu of various compositions. Simply click on the composition title and you’ll be taken to a separate page where you are provided with a Scorch toolbar that permits viewing and free downloading.

A popular download is McCreery’s THIRTEEN TOLKIEN SONGS for Children's Voices, Solo, Duet and Chorus. Dr Julia Gasper, LGSM (Licentiate of the Guildhall School of Music) says, “For those who only know Tolkien via the recent blood-and-thunder films, this song-cycle by Charles McCreery will give a very different angle on the classic saga. Here we find a gentle and ethereal world, where rhythms lilt and words echo.”

To be added to a mailing list and be notified whenever St Maur Music publishes new sheet music or CDs by Charles McCreery, simply email

More of Charles McCreery’s music can be heard on YouTube at St Maur Music’s YouTube page and below for your enjoyment, is piece no. 2, “Reverie,” which is part of a set of TEN SHORT EASY PIECES FOR PIANO.

1 comment:

  1. It's good to know that kids are being encouraged to listen to and play classical music in the traditional styles. Today's kids as well as adults don't get enough education about classical music.

    Tossing It Out