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How to buy

979-0-57036-622-4 Uhtceare – Score Available at MusicRoom Buy now (£8.95)
979-0-57036-623-1 Uhtceare – Parts Available at MusicRoom Buy now (£14.95)
979-0-57036-615-6 Firewheel Anthology – Score Available at MusicRoom Buy now (£29.95)


Part of the Firewheel Anthology collection

Vibrant chamber ensemble pieces and songs by emerging composers, written for Dark Inventions.

Find out about the collection

Commissioned by Dark Inventions for their Firewheel project, part of the Sound and Music ‘Composer Curator Scheme’. Premiered by Dark Inventions at The Engine House, Manchester, Thursday 8th May 2014.

‘Uhtceare’ is an Old English word meaning ‘anxiety before dawn’ – surely a familiar experience to many, not just the Anglo-Saxons. I particularly associate it with the half-awake, early-morning asthma attacks that I had as a child. The piece starts in a nocturnal, dreamlike state with chords that pulse gently, like the rise and fall of breaths. These swelling patterns become increasingly fraught, while soloists emerge sporadically, and culminate in a loud, chaotic passage where the percussionist moves from tuned percussion to drums.

Following this, the flute plays agile, ornamental figures that are soon mimicked by the violin and then the vibraphone. These figures are frenetic but harmonically static, so that when all three instruments are playing them simultaneously there is the sense of a whirlwind of activity that paradoxically seems to remain stationary. I thought this was a fitting musical analogue for the insistent circling of anxious early-morning thoughts. A dramatic cello solo interrupts these imitative cycles and leads the ensemble in a cacophonous final crescendo. (Patrick John Jones, 2014)


5 minutes
Dark Inventions, The Engine House, Manchester, 8th May 2014
1 Flute, 1 Percussion, 1 Violin, 1 Violoncello
Composition date


Firewheel Dark Inventions, cond. Christopher Leedham, soprano Stef Conner 26th February 2016


16 May 2014

Capstone Theatre, Liverpool

Dark Inventions and Stef Conner (voice) cond. Christopher Leedham

12 May 2014

The Lit & Phil

Dark Inventions and Stef Conner (voice) cond. Christopher Leedham

11 May 2014

Left Bank, Leeds

Dark Inventions and Stef Conner (voice) cond. Christopher Leedham

10 May 2014

National Centre for Early Music, York

Dark Inventions and Stef Conner (voice) cond. Christopher Leedham

8 May 2014

The Engine House, Manchester

Dark Inventions and Stef Conner (voice) cond. Christopher Leedham