Category Archives: Listen/Watch

Anton Fils (Filtz): The Periodical Overture in 8 Parts – No. IV

This is the fourth installment  of the Periodical Overtures in 8 Parts which are being published in conjunction with Musikproduktion Höflich.

Listen here before heading over to musikproduktion höflich to obtain the score and parts.

In The Periodical Overture in 8 Parts, No. IV, Fils’s colorful orchestration is apparent from the opening measures of the “Allegro.” The upper strings launch a vigorous measured tremolo in cut-time, emphasized by a loud tonic E-flat from the horns, while the lower strings play a quarter-note motif that arpeggiates the tonic chord. The flutes soon rise above the mass of sound with a light-hearted motif that starts slowly but ends with a flurry of sixteenth notes. The upper strings get a brief respite from their nearly continuous tremolos during the quiet start of the second theme (m. 29), but forte tremolos resume four bars later in the second violins, the violas, and the cellos/basses. Above them, the first violins play a series of staccato climbing arpeggios punctuated by flute flourishes. Numerous members of the ensemble race through upward scales during the closing theme at m. 45.

Fils crafts an unconventional form with these materials. The simple quarter-note arpeggio from mm. 1-2 is thrust into prominence in an imitative duet that launches the movement’s second half in m. 59. After considerable harmonic wandering, Fils restates the second theme at m. 128, now in the tonic E-flat, but only four measures of the theme are heard before the noisier closing-theme scales return (m. 132). James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy would likely call this structure a “Type II Sonata,” in which the first theme’s material—bravely represented by the tiny quarter-note motif—is heard only in the dominant during the second section.[1]

Although the “Andante” shares many features with the “Allegro”—the key of E-flat, the Type II sonata form—the mood is completely different. It is a soothing interlude of gentle appoggiaturas, far removed from the muscular tremolos of the first movement. The horns are tacet throughout, and the flutes are silent for the first ten bars. However, in mm. 15 and 17, when the unison strings play forte sextuplets, the flutes respond with short interjections, and they then embellish the string melody in much of the second half of the movement.

Since Bremner omitted the minuet, the overture shifts gears to the rapid-fire “Presto,” again in E-flat major. Fils’s Mannheim affiliation is clear in various regards: the first theme repeatedly includes the quick rising-and-falling motif known as the Bebung, while the lower strings accompany with steady “drum 8ths.”[2] After a stretch of measured tremolos (m. 13 and onward), a brief tutti silence signals the second theme (m. 32) in the dominant key, featuring the violins and flutes in what jazz musicians might call “trading fours.” The violins and flutes then jointly present the closing theme at m. 50, a series of rising scales harmonized in thirds. In the manner of a Type II sonata form, the second half of the finale repeats the three themes but reverses their tonal centers: the first theme (m. 70) remains in the dominant, while the second (ms. 122)  and closing themes (ms. 140) both shift to the tonic. The “Presto” is an exhilarating whirl, and listeners are likely to agree with Fils’s peers in regretting that he did not live a longer life.

Alyson McLamore

[1] James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy, Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 353–4.

[2] Hugo Riemann, ed., Sinfonien der pfalzbayerischen Schule (Mannheimer Symphoniker), in Year 7, Vol. II, of Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Bayern, in Series 2 of Denkmäler deutscher Tonkunst (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1906), xvii.

The Periodical Overtures in 8 Parts

This is an exciting long term publishing project in conjunction with the musicologist Dr Alyson McLamore and the publishing house Musikproduktion Höflich. Join us on this journey of rediscovery of music from the London scene during the Rage for Music in the second half of the 18th century.

The Periodical Overtures in 8 Parts is a remarkable series of sixty-one orchestral symphoniespublished in London by Robert Bremner between 1763 and 1783. In essence, it was a symphony-of-the-month publication over this twenty-year period, capturing the musical tastes of London during the era’s Rage for Music. Bremner was inspired to undertake the series after witnessing the success on the continent of similar French periodical prints. In England, however, Bremner’s series went unrivalled for a decade, and no other later British publisher came close to matching his success with this periodical format.

From the start, Bremner promised to issue works that had never been printed in Britain and that were composed by “the most celebrated Authors.” He honoured both of those commitments, and by 1783, the Periodical Overtures represented some twenty-eight well-regarded composers from across Europe. To accommodate smaller orchestras, the symphonies were usually limited to eight parts, representing first and second violins, viola, bass, a pair of oboes, and a pair of horns, although a few additional instruments began appearing in various issues as British ensembles grew more ambitious.

Bremner also catered to a generally conservative British taste by adding figured bass if it were not already present and sometimes reducing the number of movements to three. The works were widely performed, appearing in the records of concert organizations in England, Scotland, and even in the American colonies. Late in the century, several of the most popular issues were arranged for keyboard, reflecting not only the increasing number of pianos in private homes, but also the Periodical Overtures’ staying power.

The objective of these Periodical Overtures Editions in the Repertoire Explorer Series published by Musikproduktion Höflich is to make this unique collection of orchestral works easily accessible and affordable. The Periodical Overtures Editions enrich the repertoire available to chamber orchestras, professional and amateur alike, providing them with valuable historical and musical insights as well as much delightful music-making, a great deal of which is unknown to contemporary audiences and performers.

Scores and parts are available from Musikproduktion Höflich. Audio renditions of each overture are available on this page as they are published.

The Periodical Overture in 8 Parts – Number IV: Anton Fils (Filtz)

The Periodical Overture in 8 Parts – Number III: Johann Stamitz

The Periodical Overture in 8 Parts – Number II: Francesco Ricci

The Periodical Overture in 8 Parts – Number I: Johann Christian Bach

Coming soon…..

May 2024

The Periodical Overture in 8 Parts – Number V: Pietro Maria Crispi

June 2024

The Periodical Overture in 8 Parts – Number VI: Johann Stamitz

July 2024

We look forward to your feedback on this project. Please let us know your thoughts by adding your comments below:


Westron Wynde



Duration: 8’45”

Scored for four clarinets, organ, piano and strings, Westron Wynde is is a contemplation derived from the Sanctus from John Sheppard’s mass of the same name. The music unfolds across three panels and depicts a vast empty landscape. Two brief extracts from Sheppard’s Sanctus can be heard as the music progresses, the first stated by the clarinets, the second, at a distance, by a string quartet.

… some become stars …


Eight Violas

Duration 4′

Originally written for piano as part of a set of two short pieces  … some become stars … also exists as a piece eight violas: versions for eight violoncellos and string orchestra also existi.

It is an evocation of the stillness of the night sky and the wonders of the stars above us, so often hidden in our increasingly urban landscape. The eight instruments playing together allows them to play and breathe as one voice in a music that seeks to calm the soul and provide respite.

Scores and parts are available upon request.

… some become stars … also exists in a version for eight violoncellos



for String Orchestra

Duration 8′

Originally written for string quartet, Mesto is a study in melancholy. Using a diatonic palette, the strings pivot around a central harmony with the upper and lower parts mirroring one another as they expand outwards from the centre.

Score and parts available for purchase or hire

Priest – Mesto (sample)

I might have die


Duration: 8’30”


Chamber Orchestra (flute, 2 clarinets, piano, strings)


Text: Bartolomeo Vanzetti

If it had not been for these thing, I might have live out my life, talking at street corners to scorning men. I might have die, unmarked, unknown, a failure. Now we are not a failure. This is our career and our triumph. Never in our full life can we hope to do such work for tolerance, for joostice, for man’s onderstanding of man, as now we do by an accident.

Our words – our lives – our pains – nothing! the taking of our lives-lives of a good shoemaker and a poor fish peddler- all! That last moment belong to us-that agony is our triumph!

Soprano: Joanna Brown
Dubai Chamber Orchestra
Conductor: Barnaby Priest

Recorded @ The Fridge, Dubai, 17th February 2014



Duration: 6’00”

Instrumentation: 2 clarinets

Commissioned by the Aubarra Clarinet Duo: Jonathan Aubrey and Michael Rex Bacarra

First performed by them at the XVA Gallery in Al Fahidi Historical District, Dubai

SIKKA (path) takes its name from the narrow streets to be found in the Al Fahidi Historical District in Dubai. These streets between high walls, are evocative of an historical past quite distinct from the modern image of Duabi as global metropolis. They evoke, for me, images and memories of a calmer time when the pace of life was less frenetic. As I wander through the maze of narrow streets I am always surprised and delighted as each turn in the road opens onto a small square, a view of a distant minaret, a glimpse of the busy Dubai Creek, a detail of domestic architecture or, through an open door, a glimpse into the inner courtyard of one of the many houses that have now been restructured. As you continue walking the sounds of the distant city come to you unexpectedly as the high walls protect you from the buzz beyond the area. In the evening, as the sun sets, the shadows lengthen and day turns to night, you are bathed in the sound of the muezzin’s call to prayer from the many mosques. My music takes inspiration from this very special, physical environment.

SIKKA is divided into three short contrasting movements. The first movement uses a very limited range of notes in the middle register of each performer, the players play an augmenting canon where they chase one another. The image here is of ripples on the water of the nearby creek where the vivid colours of working dhows reflect endlessly in the water disturbed by the passing abbras as they ferry people from one side to the other of the creek. The second movement, where a melody is passed and varied between the two players, is evocative of the tranquility and silence in the Sikka in the early morning mist. The final movement, much faster and lighter in character pits two scale like figure against one another, the one fast and upward moving, the other descending moving at a slower speed.


The Landscape Listens


Flute, harp, bowed vibraphone

Duration 9’30”

Along with Lidia Stankulova (harp) and Irena Mitevska Mileva (flute) Christopher J. Cameron gave the first performance of The Landscape Listens  at the Gallery XVA in the Al Fahadi District in Dubai, 12th March 2013.

Sadly, Chris passed away at the end of October 2021. This piece is dedicated to his memory.

Hidden Reflection


String Quartet

duration 45’00”

Hidden Reflection forms part of an ongoing series of pieces that use ‘found objects’ as the core material: in this case, Franz Schubert’s Ellens dritter Gesang, (D. 839, Opus 52, No. 6), written in 1825. This piece is better known to audiences as Schubert’s Ave Maria.

Hidden Reflection focuses on the harmonic material in the accompaniament of the original rather than the melody, which remains hidden.