Musical compositions

Scope and Content

The series consists of scores to musical works by Burgess, most of which are entirely original compositions, along with Burgess's arrangements of works by other composers, such as Tobias Hume and William Byrd, and a number of musical exercises / practice pieces, arranged and/or composed by Burgess for his son, Andrew Burgess-Wilson.

There are piano pieces, string quartets, guitar quartets, sonatas and other chamber works, music for solo voice and for chorus, concertos, overtures and other orchestral works, along with occasional pieces written for birthdays, anniversaries, or other celebrations. Vocal pieces include settings of texts by D. H. Lawrence, Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ, Thomas Nashe, Gabriele D'Annunzio, William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Charles D'Orleans, Walter Savage Landor, and Ezra Pound.

The series includes complete scores along with sketches, drafts and fragments and, occasionally, other supporting papers, e.g. printed programmes and advertisements relating to performances of particular pieces. The complete scores are listed below according, as far as possible, to the title that Burgess attributed to each score along with an indication of the instrumentation for each piece.

For orchestra:

A Glasgow Overture

A Manchester Overture

The Wreck of the Deutschland, Burgess's setting of a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ

Symphony Number 3 in C

Meditations and Fugues for Brass Band

For solo instrument and orchestra:

Concerto per Chitarra ed Orchestra [Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra]

A Little Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra

Concertino per Corno Inglese e Orchestra [Concerto for English Horn and Orchestra]

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E Minor

For chamber ensemble:

Mr Burgess's Almanack

Two string quartets in C, one of which was composed for the Primavera Quartet

Quatuor (No.1) pour Guitares [Quartet No. 1 for Guitars]

Sonatina for Harmonica and Guitar

Rhapsody (for Oboe and Piano)

Nocturne for 4 bassoons

Sonata 1 (St. John's) for recorder and piano

Sonata 2 for recorder and keyboard / piano

Untitled trio for flutes or recorders

Due pezzetti for recorder and piano [Two pieces for recorder and piano]

Sonata in C, or Sonata No. 1 for Great Bass Recorder and Keyboard / Piano

Sonata No. 2 for Great Bass Recorder and Keyboard / Piano

Sonata No. 3 for Great Bass Recorder or Bassoon, and Keyboard / Piano

Sonata for Violoncello and Piano in G Minor

A Northumbrian Suite for treble, descant, tenor and bass recorder

Trivial Fond Records for treble, descant, tenor and bass recorder

A Picture of Dorian Gray (for piano and recorder)

Quartet for Oboe, Violin, Viola and Violoncello

Preludio e Fuga per flauto, violino, chitarra e pianoforte [Prelude and Fugue for flute, violin, guitar and piano]

Little Concerto for Oboe and Strings

Christmas Fantasy for recorders, flute, oboe, bassoon, piano, violins and violoncello

Flourish for Recorder and Trumpet in B flat

Concerto for Flute, Strings and Piano in D Minor

Passacaglia for Two Violins and Violoncello

3 Little Pieces for Recorders [and piano]

Sonatina for Clarinet in B flat (for piano and clarinet)

Setting of the Latin hymn Te lucis ante terminum for piano and unidentified solo instrument

11 untitled score for piano and recorder

Sonatina for Flute and Guitar

Two untitled score for solo instrument (possibly recorder) and piano

Sonatina for Alto Recorder and Piano

Three Little Pieces for Wind Quintet or Recorder Quintet

Trio Sonata for violin, violoncello, bassoon or great bass recorder and piano

For solo piano:

The Bad Tempered Electronic Keyboard (or 24 Preludes and Fugues)

Tango for Pianoforte

Preludes, a set of 6 short piano pieces

Two Elizabethan Airs, Burgess's arrangement of Fain Would I Change That Note by Tobias Hume, and The Leaves Be Green by William Byrd

Christmas Hymn

A Scottish Rhapsody for the 17th birthday of Andrew

Wiegenlied (Cradlesong)

Three sonatina for piano: moderato, poco lento and allegretto con anima


Interlude for Small Organ

Various untitled fugues and short score for piano

Master Coale's Pieces for Piano

For solo oboe:

Morceau pour Hautbois [Piece for oboe]

For solo English Horn / Cor Anglais:

Sonata for Solo English Horn

For solo guitar:

Arrangements (possibly for guitar) of "Pieds en l'air" and "Galliard" from Thoinot Arbeau's Orchésographie, a study of late sixteenth-century French Renaissance social dance

For chorus:

Bethlehem Palmtrees, Burgess's setting of A Song for the Virgin Mother by Ezra Pound

In Time of Plague, Burgess's setting of a poem from Thomas Nashe's masque A Pleasant Comedie, called Summers Last Will and Testament

For solo voice:

E chi ci pensa?

Vecchio Paese

La pioggia nel pineto, Burgess's setting of a poem by Gabriele D'Annunzio

Man Who Has Come Through: A Song Cycle, Burgess's setting of four poems by D. H. Lawrence, "End of Another Home Holiday", "Song of a Man Who Has Come Through", "Snake" and "Bavarian Gentians"

Sonnet (Shaksper), Burgess's setting of Shakespeare's sonnet 116 (Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments.)

Several works by Burgess's son Andrew Burgess Wilson are also present within the series.

Music composed for film, stage, radio or television projects that Burgess was working on do not form part of this series: such score are arranged according to the original (or adapted) work to which they relate, e.g. Blooms of Dublin, A Clockwork Orange, Cyrano the musical, Moses the Lawgiver, Oedipus the King, and Trotsky's in New York!

See also AB/ARCH/A/K: Notebooks and diaries, belonging to Burgess, his first wife (Lynne Wilson), and his second wife (Liana Burgess).


Fragments of scores for unidentified compositions have been grouped together as follows:

1) File containing fragments of unidentified orchestral score;

2) File containing fragments of unidentified scores for solo voice, or soprano alto, tenor and bass chorus;

3) File containing fragments of unidentified scores for piano, or solo instrument and piano;

4) File containing fragments of scores for unidentified instruments

Access Information


Records described as being in a fair or poor condition are available to researchers in consultation with the Archivist.


The upper date-range (of 2000 and 2012) refers to the date of copies (of original manuscripts / typescripts by Burgess) included within this series of papers.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The majority of records within this series are in a good condition, with the exception of 10 items that are in a fair condition, and 2 in a poor condition.