Dalwyn Henshall Anglo-Welsh composer Dalwyn Henshall (b.1957) studied with William Mathias at Bangor University and with Einojuhani Rautavaara at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Doctoral and (Finnish Government funded) post-doctoral researches in Scandinavian and Finnish nationalism in music have profoundly affected his compositional style which has always been "mainstream conservative" even at at a time when this was deeply unfashionable.
Running counter to the fashionable trends, and most emphatically anti-avant-garde (he was once, to his vast and continuing amusement, accused of belonging to "The Hecklers" - a sure mark of approbation if ever there was one!), stylistically speaking, his music has grown from the still hugely meaningful mainstream tonal traditions of European music and deliberately eschews empty, sterile, vacuous and posturing modernism. Dalwyn Henshall's own work bears witness to his fundamental belief that the abandonment of the European musical lingua franca post-1946 and subsequent wholesale adoption of one avant-garde fashion after another has been a totally unmitigated disaster for music lovers and composers in pursuit of a true voice everywehere. So many con-posers pretend to be composers when, really, what they are is doodlers of pretty patterns on paper: sometimes in inks of three colours! The results are never musical, let alone meaningful. Parallels with contemporary art, literature and architecture are not lost on him.
Symptomatic of the general malaise that has afflicted much new music, in his opinion, is a profound lack of understanding of structural and idiomatic harmony and to this end he is engaged on a manual of compositon which will focus on precisely such issues of large- and small-scale tonal manipulation.
For the composer, a career best, as the most satisfying accolade from a concert-goer (given at the first performance of the Piano Concerto) was "that's the best piece of contemporary music I've heard in 40 years. I actually enjoyed it!". And why not? Part of the reason is probably that the concerto "problem" - at the beginning of the 21st century (a time when most avant garde or hardline-modernist composers would avoid the concerto form and concertante textures like the plague) - can only be answered by embracing the format together with all that it represents within its heritage. The same - writ large - applies to symphonic textures. No accident, then, that the concerto is his favourite musical form. The eighth, the Concerto for Percussion was performed at the 1993 Swansea Festival by Evelyn Glennie, Richard Hickox and the BBCNOW. (The tenth, the Clarinet Concerto, narrowly and mercifully escaped bureaucratic destruction!)
The concertos, in particular, like much of his recent piano music, have a strong autobiograpical element, and the composer is currently completing his eleventh concerto - for trumpet, percussion, harp and strings - ten years after the Clarinet Concerto. Triggered by the death of Karlheinz Stockhausen, the composer hopes that this will mark, for him, the end of a musical waste-land. The Finale, the first movement to be written, is already available here in free-standing form as the "Milonga Variations". The intention is that the "Milonga Variations" will be avaiable with accompaniment in alternative scoring for brass band and for wind band.
His latest project is a Sonata for Cello.
Now forbidden to teach, by statutory edict, Dr Henshall is currently writing a book tentatively called "Composition Matters" as well as finishing off the scoring of Trumpet Concerto and his Sonata for Cello.
Pieces which are available on this website may be freely printed/performed where appropriate but public performance and/or broadcast must be logged with the PRS. Fully scored versions (score and parts) of some pieces - and others not published here - are available by request.
Please say "hello", if you wish - he will be pleased to hear from some: he can be emailed directly on firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter.