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Thames Journey

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Nigel Hess

Nigel Hess

General Info

Year: 1991
Duration: c. 8:35
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Faber Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $145.95   |   Score Only (print) - $16.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet I-II
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Cornets I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Euphonium I-II
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Choke Cymbal
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Duck Call
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum (2)
  • Stamping Stick
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Temple Blocks
  • Tenor Drum
  • Tom-Tom
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Thames Journey was commissioned by the National Children’s Wind Orchestra of Great Britain (1991) The journey begins at the source of the River Thames in Wiltshire, first with just a few drops of water, but gaining strength as the flow starts. A horn solo introduces the main theme, an old Wiltshire melody dating back to the eighteenth century. A solo trumpet announces that the voyage has well and truly begun, and very soon we cross into Oxfordshire, passing close to the village of Bampton – where morris dancing was invented, with its jingles and stamping sticks. Along the river we can glimpse many Elizabethan manor-houses, and at Godstow we pause to view the nunnery, hearing an ancient plainsong melody. Then Oxford itself appears, with its dreaming spires and steeple bells, and the abbey at Abingdon.

The World Poohstick Championships are held on the river at Little Wittenham, an event to which trombones and tubas pay tribute. As we cross borders again into Berkshire, an old folktune of that county is heard – but a well-known boating song soon intrudes, reminding us of halcyon days spent in Henley. Soon we arrive at Windsor with Here’s a Health unto His Majesty, a popular song during the reign of Charles II. Passing Runnymede, where the Magna Carta was signed, we sight Hampton Court and hear Henry VIII’s gentle Greensleeves. As we round a bend in the river, The Lass of Richmond Hill greets us with a broad smile.

We sail through Barnes, and the house where composer Gustav Holst lived is spotted, closely followed by Miss Pinkerton’s Academy (from Vanity Fair) at Hammersmith. A wave to Lambeth, and Big Ben hoves into view. Nostalgically we remember London Bridge before arriving at Greenwich, starting point of many a heroic voyage, and we hear the sailor’s hymn Eternal Father, Strong to Save. Smelling the salt in the air, we can sense the open sea, and as the journey reaches its end, our Wiltshire melody proudly sweeps out to meet the ocean. The Thames Journey is complete!

- Program Note from liner note of Chandos CD Nigel Hess: The Winds of Power.

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

  • North Carolina: VI


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Works for Winds by this Composer