Steven writes an eclectic mix of concert music for singers and instrumentalists.
His sound-world is obliquely lyrical, rhythmically refracted, and harmonically pungent, combining expressive beauty of sound with craftsmanship and intellectual rigour.
[List of works]
2016 saw first performances of April Zen for tenor and piano [Listen to Part One], and Prelude, Cumulation, Trio for violin and piano [Listen].
He has received a number of commissions over the years, writing works for piano, clavichord, four horns, and chamber ensemble. A short choral work, Care-Charming Spells, was commissioned by Thornbury Choral Society and premiered by them in May 2013. Steven's Fanfare for brass and organ (2012) was a commission from the Bristol Rotary Club, and received its second performance during the opening service of the 2013 Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester.
In September 2011 Steven completed a second String Quartet [Hear 1st movt] which was premiered in 2012 [Listen to interview]. Other instrumental works include Trio for flute, trumpet and viola, Les Vitraux de Saint-Séverin for large ensemble, and a Sextet for wind and strings. His first string quartet, premiered in 2007, is entitled After the dissonance... .
Zen Calendar is an ongoing project, setting short aphoristic texts for various combinations of voices and instruments. In addition to April Zen (2016) Steven has completed September Zen (2013) and Zen May (2010) as well as a number of individual songs which can, in theory, be performed in any grouping and any order.
- Songs of Mary and Simeon, a setting of the Canticles in Greek, was commissioned by the Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir and performed during the 2005 Three Choirs Festival.
- haiku mass, written for and performed by the Bristol Choral Society in 2002, was shortlisted for a British Composer Award in 2003.
- red land spring was a prize winner in the Tong Piano Duet Competition in 2002, and was performed that year by the Tong Piano Duet in Tokyo and London.
- Snapshots for Flute, Saxophone, Percussion, 'Cello, and Double Bass (1985) won the Young Composers’ Competition at the Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music in 1985, and was performed there by Lontano conducted by Odaline de la Martinez.
- Piano Sonata (1980) was selected by the ISM for a performance by Eileen Pearce at their Young Composers'
Forum in Birmingham in 1982.
Works shortlisted by the Society for the Promotion of New Music:-
- Phantasy V for Clarinet (1984), performed in 1985, broadcast by BBC Radio 3 in 1986
- Nocturne for Orchestra (1984), performed in London in 1985
- Three Piano Pieces (1985), performed in London in 1987 [Hear Piano Piece 3]
- Deviation-Norm for Horn (1986)
- Window Waiting for Tenor, Choir and String Quartet (1991)
- Fingers Pointing to the Moon for Piano (1992) [Hear extract]
- passion games for viola (1999)
Reviews of Snapshots:-
“...was most delicately scored, saying what it had to say in a direct, though poetic, manner.” (The Times)
“...combines trenchancy, economy, and lyrical imagination.” (Financial Times)
“...revealed succinct wit and neat sense of form.” (The Observer)