Philip has been composing since the age of fifteen, when he wrote his 'Op 1', a three-movement piano sonata, reworked, years later, as the Concertino for Harpsichord & Strings. His Piano Concerto appeared the following year, and had its first play-through by the Plymouth Orchestral Society (now Plymouth Symphony Orchestra). Its first public performance was in 1967 with the Combined Orchestras of the Royal Marines in Plymouth Guildhall, with Philip as soloist. The picture shows Philip, whilst still at school, pointing to part of the original hand-written score!
While publishing most of his work online, Philip has also produced a number of works for saxophone, published by Saxtet Publications, a leading UK company based in Birmingham. The Lone Ar-ranger, for Brass Band, is published by Thornes Music (Shrewsbury, UK). The American specialist company, T.D. Ellis publishes Philip's bassoon-quartet arrangements of The Lone Ar-ranger! and Samba..alla Turca! All Philip's current arrangements for accordion orchestra and solo accordion are available online at MusicForAccordion.com, the world's largest eSheet accordion-music site.
Some large ensemble pieces are published by top Swiss company, Editions Marc Reift. May Hill Edition, based in Gloucestershire, UK, publishes Steve Marshall's arrangement of The Lone Ar-ranger for Recorder Orchestra, whilst three pieces for mandolin, in both solo and duet versions, edited by the late Alison Stephens, are published by Cheshire-based company, Astute Music. Another specialist American company, HaMaR, publishes Samba..alla Turca! for percussion ensemble. Philip is a member of the Performing Rights Society.
Musician & Music Writer
Philip bought his first copy of the Sibelius notation programme in 2001, uploading his first composition to SibeliusMusic.com soon afterwards.
In fact Philip published the majority of his work there, where he also had his own Music Store - PRB Music.
In July 2011, SibeliusMusic.com closed down, but it has found a worthy successor in Score Exchange, which is run and owned by Andrew Davis and John Barron, who were both part of the original SibeliusMusic.com website-design team. Philip hopes his many works and arrangements will still remain popular on the brand new website, and where he now has his Homepage.
Click here for Philip's Homepage / Score Catalogue at Score Exchange, where his compositions are grouped by category. Visitors who have the Avid (ex-Sibelius) Scorch plug-in already installed on their computer should be able to view and hear the music straightaway. However, scores are now also available at Score Exchange as PDF downloads, and can be auditioned via their associated MP3 files.
Alternatively, please click here to visit Philip's PRB Music sub-site.
As a teacher, Philip has also produced a small number of worksheets, mainly for ABRSM Aural Tests (Grades 6-8). Please click here for further information.
Click each image to enlarge
Philip's compositions have now been heard worldwide, from village halls to London's Royal Albert Hall! Here are some performers, professional and amateur, who have already played some of them: The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) included Samba...alla Turca! in its 2006 Family Concert in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. Presenter, Alasdair Malloy, said: 'Not only a musical genius, Mozart was a great practical joker with a wicked sense of fun and mischief! With this in mind, Philip Buttall has taken one of Mozart’s most popular pieces for piano and arranged it for orchestra, as if we’ve just bumped into Wolfgang at the Carnival in Brazil!'
The Ulster Orchestra, Northern Ireland's only full-time professional symphony orchestra. featured Samba...alla Turca! in its two Viennese Evenings at Belfast's Waterfront Hall at the start of January 2008. As it says in the programme: 'Thrill to the talents of our guest dancers, Camilla Dallerup & Ian Waite from the BBC TV’s Strictly Come Dancing series, as they add a little Latin American flavour to the Viennese treats!' Click here to listen to BBC Radio Ulster's recording, later broadcast in its Sounds Classical programme.
In 2003 Philip played alongside top British mandolinist, Alison Stephens, heard on the soundtrack of Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Ali returned to Plymouth later that year for a solo recital, where Philip wrote her a little number, Ali's Jazzarello! (listen) - a fairly conventional Italian saltarello, but with a jazzy middle section! Delighted, Ali asked Philip for two companion pieces, now published by Astute Music. Sadly, Ali passed away prematurely in 2010, at the age of 40. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her, or had heard her play.
||Simon & Philip
A violinist equally at home in the role of soloist, chamber musician and director, Peter Fisher, established the Chamber Ensemble of London in 1997. Peter has made a number of solo and ensemble appearances in the South West, and gave the premier performance of Philip's Valse Viennoise in 2003. The piece, in its original working for solo piano, in fact dates from 1962!
Saxophonist, Naomi Sullivan, studied at the Royal College of Music and Northwestern University, Chicago, winning numerous prizes in the UK, Europe and the USA. In 2007 she gave a recital in the Plymouth Chamber Music Trust series at the University of Plymouth, with pianist, Tim Sidford. Despite an extremely taxing programme, Naomi still managed to include Philip's Waltzing Soprilda as a breathtaking encore on alto. Needless to say, Philip, reviewing the recital for The Herald, gave them full marks for their performance! As a member of the Paragon Saxophone Quartet, Naomi is regularly involved as a tutor on their International Summer School.
Philip first met top British pianist, Simon Crawford-Phillips, when Philip was reviewing the Kungsbacka Piano Trio at the University of Plymouth. Simon has since returned twice to the university, once more with the 'Kungsbacka', and once with piano-duet partner, Philip Moore, when they included the slow movement of Philip's Sonatina for Piano Duet as an encore in their recital in January 2005.
Since 1993, Onyx Brass has been dominating the international brass chamber music scene. Following their recent performance in Plymouth, where they also officially opened the university's new Roland Levinsky Building, Philip, who had reviewed the recital for The Herald, suggested they might like to include his own brass arrangement of his Lone Ar-ranger! in their repertoire. Tuba player, and the ensemble's spokesman, David Gordon-Shute said: 'Having now had a chance to hear it, yes, I think that there might certainly be a slot for it either in concerts or as an encore!'
For its May 2006 Celebrity Concert, the now-disbanded South West Sinfonietta, conducted by Tim Boulton, former violist with the Vellinger Quartet, gave the first public performance of Philip's Autumn Embers in its version for oboe and orchestra in Plymouth Guildhall, with oboist, Julie Throssell (listen). The evening's main work, Beethoven's Emperor Concerto, followed next, where the soloist was top international pianist, Stephen Hough.
The National Youth Recorder Orchestras were formed in 2002, and have already played at a number of prestigious venues in the UK, including Birmingham Conservatoire and The Sage, Gateshead, as well as in Holland and Australia. Their August 2009 concert included Philip's Lone Ar-ranger (listen) - interestingly at the same venue that the University of Cambridge Concert Band performed it in 2007, the city's West Road Concert Hall.
|Rondebosch Recorder Group
||Spokane Accordion Orchestra
||South West Camerata
Debby Chuter, a parent from the Rondebosch Boys' Preparatory School near Cape Town, who teaches and accompanies the school's recorder ensembles wrote to say: 'The boys are enjoying Recorders go Big-Band! so much that one of them said to me this morning, 'Oh yay its Friday - recorder group' - I have never heard that comment before! I think they love the 'grown-up' feel of the piece and that they get to do some solos just like a real band. They are aged 10-13 and I am amazed how well they manage the piece - it looks quite difficult but once they got the feel of it it came right very quickly'. The picture shows the senior group of players, and it's great to think that youngsters today are still enjoying the pieces that Philip wrote for his own school recorder groups!
Patricia Bartell, of Spokane, Washington, wrote to say: 'I have really enjoyed your scores on SibeliusMusic.com. I am constantly looking for arrangements for our Accordion Ensemble, and was wondering if you would ever consider arranging your Samba...alla Turca! and The Lone-Ar-ranger! for accordion orchestra? We perform classical music through to pop to jazz. Usually there are anywhere from 4-7 parts plus percussion and bass, and we have about 18 members right now ranging from early intermediate players to virtuoso accordionists! They would love to perform these two arrangements of yours!' Patricia and her players were most helpful in providing Philip with the necessary technical help and advice along the way, with the result that so far five pieces have been arranged for them!
South West Camerata is a string ensemble formed in 2005, to cater for the needs of young players in Devon, under the expert guidance of Fiona McLean. Fiona discussed the possibility of making an arrangement for them, and the result was a string-orchestra version of Princess Gráinne's Air & Jig. This has proved very popular with the players, who refer to it simply as 'Granny'! Philip was privileged to attend its first performance in the Great Hall, Dartington in August 2006, and it is hoped to include it on their first CD. It also formed part of their programme at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
|The Soprillo - on a plate!
||Nigel Wood with the NSC
||Mandy, Nigel and Benedikt
It's not very often that composers get asked to write something for a 'new' instrument! Not, that is, until Nigel Wood, of Saxtet Publications asked Philip if he would like to compose something for the Soprillo, This is very small saxophone built in Munich, Germany, by Benedikt Eppelsheim. Nigel writes: Only recently has it been possible to manufacture such a fantastically small and high-pitched instrument as the soprillo saxophone. The soprillo is a true 'sopranissimo' instrument, sounding an octave above the soprano and half an octave above the sopranino. It's a transposing instrument in Bb, with a range from low-Bb to high-Eb, although notes above G require different fingerings to regular saxophones. Due to its extreme small size, the upper octave key has been placed into the mouthpiece.
Philip was delighted to accept the commission, and the result was his Waltzing Soprillda, of which Nigel wrote: This witty and imaginative take on Australia's signature waltz was originally written for Nigel Wood and his soprillo. (It is one of the first pieces to be published for soprillo saxophone). In it, the agile little piccolo sax (soprillo) revisits 'Matilda' in the styles of Ravel, Schubert, Beethoven, Sousa, swing and more, and she is (of course!) serenaded with didgeridoo fanfares. Nigel featured it on his 2006 China Tour with the National Saxophone Choir, together with some more of Philip's arrangements, where it was a great success, and subsequently appeared on the NSC's 2007 CD, Sax to the Max!.
Nigel also features the soprillo in a video clip from the 2008 Prague Fringe Festival, where he plays Eclogue, again with the NSC.
Philip later heard from Mandy Grezeszak, a keen soprilloist from Michigan, USA, who wrote: I want to do anything I can to promote the instrument and its music in the States. I have been performing your 'Waltzing Soprillda' in many of my concerts. I love the piece so much, and have included it on my new CD of saxophone music!
The above CDs currently feature recordings of some of Philip's music. For further information on each, and to listen to some of the tracks, please click on the respective cover. To hear all of Philip's CD tracks in their entirety, please click here.
The CDs below are no longer commercially available, but are included for information purposes only.
With video sites like , performances of Philip's music are increasingly being uploaded, as these two short clips, respectively from Reading University in the UK, and a recorder orchestra from a Middle School in Taiwan show.
Philip's Palarishca Polka is a favourite of Ljiljana (Lilly) Popovic and Djordje Lalic, students at the 'Stankovic' Music School, Belgrade, Serbia. Click here for a short video of their performance in a competition. Lilly is taught by fellow-composer, pianist and teacher, Biljana Krstic, who says: 'They could have played better but....in the end they got third prize!'
Alternatively, click here for a first-rate performance of Philip's Sonatina for Piano Duet, played from memory by Jerry Fu and Ruhan Zhang, two young pianists from Utah, USA.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so they say, and certainly this has proved to be the case, as far as Eclogue is concerned.
Vienna-based trumpet and flugelhorn player, Elmar Eggerer, played the piece in its original form at a Mass in the city's St Stepehen's Cathedral, accompanied by the splendid organ there.
Dutch jazz-saxophonist, Kees van Lier, was on holiday with his wife and heard the piece. He later contacted me, to ask if I might let him have the score to try out on soprano saxophone with his Jazz Quartet, when he was back in Amsterdam.
Kees wasted no time in running it through, and has now sent an MP3 of his quartet at one of their rehearsals. Kees wrote: 'I hear an English component in your composition, like the pastoral sounds of Elgar - nice voicings and, at the same time, some progressions related to a jazz idiom. And perhaps this inspired us to execute your composition the way we did. We took the liberty, and it was a guess - would it be appreciated?' Click here to listen to Kees's fascinating 'take' on my original! 'Appreciated?' - I'd definitely say so!
Philip's Eclogue, in a special version for clarinet and piano, published by Saxtet Publications, has been selected for inclusion in the Trinity Guildhall Grade 5 Jazz Clarinet syllabus.
The first composition which Philip actually uploaded to the former SibeliusMusic.com site back in 2001, was his Lone Ar-ranger! which has since proved extremely popular and spawned many different versions!
His version for piano trio recently found its way into the repertoire of Devon-based Divertimento Piano Trio, and formed part of a recital which they gave on the cruise-ship, Saga Sapphire, while on a winter cruise to the Arctic Circle. Posting a message from Alesund, Norway, cellist, Vicky Evans wrote: 'Thanks to Philip for his great Lone Ar-ranger that we performed for the first time in our concert yesterday. We did it as a quiz and the winner of the bottle of champagne guessed 25 of the 41 tunes. They all really enjoyed it!'
The picture shows Vicky (centre) and the other trio-members out enjoying a recreational expedition to see the Northern Lights, along with the other tour passengers.
While Philip's original compositions, arrangements and transcriptions are readily available in various forms online or from those named publishers, he is usually able to supply them direct in PDF form, where copyright permits, from PRB Music, and accept payment via PayPal. The newly-formed Cambridge Symphonic Winds, for example, acquired its music for its March 2009 Inaugural Concert in this manner, which meant the order could be tailored to the players' exact requirements.
For further information or an individual quotation, please e-mail with full details - or, to see an example-score (excerpt), simply click here.