Gareth Churchill (b 1980) studied in London with Rhian Samuel and in Cardiff with Anthony Powers, where was awarded his PhD in composition in 2007. Professionally active as a composer since being a student, his recent works include Vocable, for mezzo soprano and ensemble (Resonabilis, Vale of Glamorgan Festival 2010); Clarinet Quintet (David Campbell/Solstice Quartet, Aberystwyth Musicfest 2011); Ad Profunda, for five players (Ensemble Cymru, Bangor New Music Festival 2012) and Elemental Studies (2011 -13), a collection of four solos for the ‘doubling’ wind instruments which are receiving their respective premieres in Cardiff, Ghent, London and Chicago.
Much of my recent music has been concerned with trying to develop a well known compositional technique in a familiar genre. Clarinet Quintet (2011), for example, presents a deconstruction and re-conception of traditional sonata form and my string quartet, Centrifugue (2013); continues this line of work:
The piece has the fugal tradition at its heart, the invertible counterpoint used in which, is, to my mind, akin to the motion inside a centrifuge; hence my (perhaps) obvious title.
Centrifugue unfolds as a sequence of five linked episodes moving from single counterpoint at the opening, to quadruple counterpoint, at its core; before reverting back to single by the conclusion. The third episode, in a manner related to infinite regression (like a Russian doll, for example), is like-wise composed of five sections, as is its third section. Here, at the quartet’s core, is a vigorous, and again five sectioned, pizzicato toccata; toccatas and fugues having been sometimes paired together historically.
Centrifugue was commissioned, with support from the Arts Council of Wales, by the Mavron String Quartet, for first performance at the Norwegian Church, Cardiff on 3rd May, 2013.
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