The Foundation

The Music of Anthony Burgess

Music was at the heart of Anthony Burgess’s creative life.
If you are interested in performing or recording Burgess’s music, or for permissions enquiries, please write to

in this section

The Music of Anthony Burgess:

Anthony Burgess often wrote about his life as a composer and musician. Key primary sources include:

Little Wilson and Big God (1987) — the first volume of Burgess’s ‘Confessions’ — describes his formative musical experiences and early attempts at composition before becoming a novelist.

You’ve Had Your Time (1990) — the second volume of the ‘Confessions’ — contains a wealth of information about the music he composed after he became a professional writer, translator and librettist in 1959.

This Man And Music (1982) is a book-length study of the close relationship between literature and music, and the importance of both art-forms in Burgess’s life.

The main secondary source of information about Burgess’s music is A Clockwork Counterpoint: The Music and Literature of Anthony Burgess (2010) by Paul Phillips.

Recordings of Burgess’s music that are currently available include:

The Bad-Tempered Electronic Keyboard, performed by Stephane Ginsburgh and released by Naxos on the Grand Piano label. This complete set of 24 preludes and fugues was written to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of J.S. Bach.

The Piano Music of Anthony Burgess , performed by Richard Casey and released on the Prima Facie label. This album contains a selection of Burgess’s works for solo piano. The CD is currently unavailable, but the music can be found on streaming services.

Mr WS Ballet Suite for Orchestra, performed by Brown University Orchestra, conducted by Paul Phillips, released by Naxos. The album contains performances of Mr. WSMarche pour une révolution and Mr. Burgess’s Almanack.

The Man and His Music, an anthology of works for recorder including a selection of Anthony Burgess’s compositions for the instrument, performed by John Turner and Harvey Davies and released by Metier.

Complete Guitar Quartets (2023), performed by the Méla Quartet and released as a CD and download by Naxos.