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Title: Thesis
Author: Churchill, Gareth Peredur
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 3885
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2008
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This commentary is submitted, along with my portfolio of compositions (and accompanying compact disk) in fulfillment of my PhD in composition. The purpose is to provide an accompaniment to my portfolio of compositions, to give insight into the works within it, and to discuss the scores with regard to their relevant aesthetical concerns and compositional techniques. I will also assess the works in the context of compositional practices past and present. Writing this commentary is slightly curious by its very nature: as the composer I have a deep and even emotional connection to the scores yet must try to distance myself sufficiently from them to be objective about discussing them. Despite the nature of this task I do come at it knowing exactly what my compositional intentions were at the time of writing the various works in the portfolio. It is also of interest that this research degree has been a process of personal and compositional development over a period of four years to what I have come to consider my compositional 'voice'. This development will be charted and recurring devices and the musical means which I now rely on in writing my music will be identified and examined. The discussion of works in this commentary will start with the general and gradually focus throughout the course of writing to the specific in the final chapter. In the first chapter I will discuss some of the more general aspects of my compositions and look at principal compositional concerns, seeking to illuminate and examine the sources from where I take my inspiration (both musical and extra-musical). In this chapter I will also assess my work in terms of its cultural context. The second chapter will look at a variety of compositional techniques and devices I use in my work (with reference to specific examples) and will put them into a context according to the canon of twentieth and twenty-first century acoustic concert music. The third and final chapter will take the form of an analysis of the three works at the core of the portfolio of compositions in this submission: Blodeugerdd for baritone voice and piano, Cromlech: Viola Sonata for viola and piano and Meddylun for orchestra. These pieces, whilst apparently very different in their natures represent the core of the submission in a variety of ways. They cover the time span of this project in its entirety: Blodeugerdd is the earliest work in the portfolio and Meddylun was one of the last completed scores. Additionally they demonstrate my ability to compose in two of the facets required by the PhD (to write for large instrumental forces and to work in large time scales). Whilst there is no long orchestral work in my portfolio the chamber works Blodeugerdd and Cromlech: Viola Sonata deal in large time scales and the eight minute orchestral concert overture Meddylun is a detail-packed score for large forces. Through applying the sort of techniques I used in writing Meddylun and dealing with a large ensemble to the sort of large time scale approach used in Blodeugerdd or Cromlech: Viola Sonata I should be able to write a long orchestral work in the future. I am hugely grateful to have been able to complete this project which allowed me four years of relatively uninterrupted composing time and permitted me to mature both in terms of my music and compositional abilities and in a more personal way. There are a variety of people whose help throughout the course of my PhD I would like to acknowledge: Firstly my supervisor Professor Anthony Powers whose advice and constructive criticisms have been invaluable to me. Other members of staff too, must be mentioned for their support, encouragement and guidance: perhaps most that of Dr. Richard Elfyn Jones and Dr. Arlene Elizabeth Sierra, although I am of course hugely grateful and indebted to the entire faculty of Cardiff University Music School. My peer group of research students also require a mention for their support, encouragement and friendship. Also a number of performers must be thanked: most notably baritone Jeremy Huw Williams who generously allowed me to write him what evolved into my first professional engagement Blodeugerdd (included in this submission) and performed the work on more than one occasion. Following Williams a variety of performers and ensembles commissioned me to write them pieces and this has lead to the many of the works in this portfolio receiving professional performances. I must also thank festival directors John Metcalf, Peter Reynolds, David Campbell and Guto Pryderi Puw for including my work in their events.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available