Luke's vocal music ranges across choral works and a mixture of works for voices and different instrumental combinations. These include individual songs, multi movement large-scale works and song cycles.
On Bunyah 2018
This new song cycle for tenor Mark Padmore (and the Britten Sinfonia in a chamber formation of string quartet and piano) set’s a series of 10 poems by Australian poet Les Murray, from his most recent collection, On Bunyah.
The cycle charts a loose narrative and progression of themes, where the tenor can be identified as a 'poet farmer' character. This central figure gives voice to many aspects of Australia (the bush, land, kangaroos, fire, death, machinery and the 20/21st Century) without sentimentality. The distinctive Australian flavor of this collection of poems embraces the similar experiences and challenges of other rural communities with the ‘poet farmer’ functioning as both a rural and modern day ‘every-man’. SCORE/PARTS available in late 2019.
Instrumentation: Tenor, Piano, String Quartet. Duration: 30mins
“Styles’s On Bunyah is magnificent and just like the poem is raw, not polite. His writing for tenor, piano and string quartet is terse and dissonant and stirs turbulent feelings in the listener, from idle reminiscence and humour to horror as a “poet farmer” looks back on a lifetime spent in the bush, ultimately to witness its destruction by mechanised land clearing.”
The Australian – Graham Strahle
All Howl At Once (Friday Afternoon Songs) 2017
These Friday Afternoons songs have enabled me to embrace the fun, nonsense, humour, darkness and playfulness of a young person’s fantasy world. One takes the everyday of homework and turns it into a parade of monsters while others investigate and poke fun at annual celebrations of Valentines and Easter.
Young voices have an immediacy to them that we as adults can’t help but be drawn in by. When this is coupled with fantastical story telling through song, young people can make the absurd believable and both the ludicrous and banal exciting.
I have worked closely with the writer Alan McKendrick on this approach and he has created texts which facilitate the flights of fancy of both my own musical imagination and the young people’s. I have consciously reflected on Britten’s set of Friday Afternoons songs and included in my set two rounds and a number of technical procedures that work so well for young singers (and old ones too) in Britten’s set of songs. It has been an immense pleasure to compose this set of songs, to work with fantastic professional artists and a host of enthusiastic and inspiring young people. BUY the SCORE/PARTS
Instrumentation: Young voices (8 to 18 year olds), piano.
In part based on a Passacaille by Handle. Commissioned by Boughton House. Premiere 17th July 2016 at Boughton House England. To buy the score please contact the composer via email@example.com
Instrumentation: Baroque Ensemble; Violin, Oboe, Harpsichord, Counter-Tenor. Duration: 10mins
A short song about love. BUY the SCORE/PARTS
Instrumentation: 2 sopranos, 1 alto.
The Girls Who Wished to Marry the Stars 2013
This theatrical new work (described as a mini dance opera) by Luke Styles features experimental vocal trio Juice and Trish Clowes' jazz/classical ensemble Tangent, performing alongside three live dancers. Blurring the boundaries between dancer and musician, this evocative piece retells a Native Canadian folk tale in a playful, highly dynamic way. BUY the SCORE/PARTS
Commissioned by Juice as part of the New Music Biennial (PRS for Music Foundation). Premiered 13.02.14 LICA (Lancaster). Performed at the Village Underground, London as part of Emulsion III 29th May 2014. Performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London 6th July 2014. Performed at the Commonwealth Games Glasgow, 2nd August 2014.
Instrumentation: Vocal trio (SSA), cello, saxophone, electric guitar, double bass, drum kit. Duration: 12 min.
I began reading some of the Shakespeare sonnets, which I had had an interest in specifically since 2008 when a newspaper article (I can be specific if you like) ran a feature on influential arts practitioners in the UK and their favourite sonnets. Upon reading through the sonnets and thinking about the people I would be writing for a natural duality between men and women began to arise. Also the themes of love, beauty and vanity.
Being surrounded by opera intensively, and also having watched the last series of the Apprentice and seeing men championing male grooming, the notion of male vanity jumped off the page at me. I decided it would be a great opportunity to explore the idea of male vanity, through Shakespeare's sonnets, where the men are the vain ones, unable to see their aging bodies and to speak truth about love. Whereas the women sing the voice of reason, of love and beauty and how both it and we age and grow.
This is the world of my Vanity. Conflict between the projected and reality, moments of beauty, doubt and love. BUY the SCORE/PARTS
Instrumentation: Tenor solo, bass solo, SSAA choir, violin. Duration: 20 min.
How They Creep 2011
How They Creep; takes the second stanza from E. A. Poe's A Dream Within A Dream. I have embarked on a piece that has at it's heart the combination of two voices and how they are supported and at times directed by the instruments around them. I have been largely influenced by Benjamin Britten's Canticles whilst writing this piece. BUY the SCORE/PARTS
Instrumentation: Mezzo-soprano, tenor (OR Soprano and Mezzo-Soprano), flute, clarinet, violin, cello. Duration: 4 min.
A Stratagem for Light 2010
Bringing together voices and recorders fusing their similarities and playing on their differences. Taking up the recurrent themes of light and dark in the text by the London poet Jacob Sam-La Rose, the work moves progressively from a state of lightness to increasing darkness. This movement is most tangible in the shifting instrumentation of each of the twelve movements, but its traces can be found throughout the work in a conflict of percussive versus direct sounds or the clarity versus clouding of a harmonic pallet. BUY the SCORE/PARTS
Instrumentation: Recorder quintet, 2 sopranos, alto. Duration: 24 min.
Spring Song Cycle 2008
Seven pieces for soprano, horn, piano and soprano quartet, setting poetry by George, Hölderlin, Uhrland and O'Hara. The Spring and Nature exist as central themes of the work although these are very much hidden in the work and only very occasionally rise to the surface. Lively and slow movements exchange with an optional movement for soprano quartet creating a subtle link to Les Angelus by Debussy. BUY the SCORE/PARTS
Instrumentation: Soprano, French horn, piano (includes optional movement for 4 sopranos). Duration: 20 min.
Three Airs 2007
Three short pieces setting text by Frank O' Hara. Funny, light and dark simultaneously. BUY the SCORE/PARTS
Instrumentation: SSA choir. Duration: 10 min.
Little Boy Lost 2004
Two songs setting text by Edward Blake. For the score please contact the composer
Instrumentation: Soprano (solo)
Shape of Blake 2004
A two movement work setting text by Edward Blake. Work shoped and premiered by the BBC Singers. For the score please contact the composer.
Instrumentation: SATB choir.
In the Quarter Master's Store 2004
A short work setting text from George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia. The work can be sung by professional, amateur or young voices. For the score please contact the composer.
Intsrumentaion: Voice and Clarinet.