Nocturne No 1

What is it?

My Nocturne No 1 is a piano solo lasting just under ten minutes. It’s my most uncompromising composition in the sense that it makes no concessions whatsoever to other people’s tastes in music. Nevertheless friends have described it as beautiful. Its modality is predominantly octatonic and nonatonic, using what Olivier Messiaen referred to as his second and third modes of limited transposition. In terms of technical difficulty I would perhaps describe it as advanced-intermediate.



I have devoted a good deal of my career to promoting international co-operation. More specifically I have worked for twenty-six years on European Union programmes with an emphasis on bringing countries closer together or into the EU. I recognise that the EU’s governance mechanisms are far from perfect, but I believe in peace and stability. More to the point, I’m prepared to work for it. On 23rd June 2016 the United Kingdom held a referendum in which people were asked a ridiculously naïve question: should the UK stay in the EU or leave? People like me who work with the EU knew that the issue is vastly more complex than that. I tried to advise people: but because certain of the UK’s politicians did not want to hear the message, they told the citizens of the country that they shouldn’t listen to experts. So it was that a majority of the people who turned out to vote expressed a desire to leave the EU. As I write this, more than eight months later, I still feel an intense sense of cold anger at this decision. I work on international free trade agreements. I know what I’m talking about. Nocturne is an expression of how I felt two days after the referendum. Nothing more needs to be said.


Stuart Brown
Policy Implementation Consultant