Stephen Goss

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Stephen Goss (born 2 February 1964) is a Welsh composer, guitarist and academic. His varied compositional output includes orchestral and choral works, chamber music, and solo pieces. His music draws freely on a number of styles and genres. He is particularly known for his guitar music, which is performed and recorded widely.

Stephen Goss, Welsh composer and guitarist

Currently Professor of Composition and Director of Research in the Department of Music and Media at the University of Surrey, UK, Goss is also a Professor of Guitar at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He is the Director of the International Guitar Research Centre, which he founded with John Williams and Milton Mermikides in 2014. Before moving to the University of Surrey in 1999, he taught at the Yehudi Menuhin School.

Stephen Goss studied at the Royal Academy of Music (where he won the Julian Bream Prize in 1986) and the Universities of Bristol and London (where he completed his doctorate in 1997). His composition teachers were Edward Gregson, Robert Saxton, Peter Dickinson and Anthony Payne, and he studied guitar with Michael Lewin.

Compositions[edit]

Goss’s recent work has included several projects with the guitarist John Williams, who recorded and toured his Guitar Concerto (2012) with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014. Describing the concerto, Williams said ‘I don’t know of any guitar concerto which is as consistently successful on all fronts’.[1] Goss has also collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Webber, arranging his music for guitar. In his role as composer-in-residence for the Orpheus Sinfonia, he wrote the Concerto for Five (2013) for the unique combination of violin, saxophone, cello, bass, piano and orchestra, and the Piano Concerto (Signum Classics 2013) - the first classical concert piece to feature an interactive tablet app.[2]

His music has been performed by The Russian National Orchestra (under Mikhail Pletnev), The China National Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, The State Symphony Orchestra ‘New Russia’, The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, The Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and many other leading orchestras. His Albéniz Concerto (2009) for guitar and orchestra was released on EMI Classics in November 2010.[3]

Other commissions have come from: guitarists, David Russell, Xuefei Yang, Zoran Dukić and Miloš Karadaglić, the cellist Natalie Clein, flautist William Bennett, pianist Emmanuel Despax, and the tenor Ian Bostridge. Most of his music is published by Doberman Editions, Quebec, Canada.

Musical Language[edit]

A central theme running through Goss’s work is the evocation of time (nostalgia and historical reference) and place (landscape and architecture). His uses of quotations and stylistic references help to shape his pluralist musical language, which is characterised by abrupt stylistic gear changes. As Kimberly Patterson has observed, ‘Goss’s compositional interests are in the continuum that lies between transcription and composition and in the ways in which pre-existing material can be used to create unusual and interesting music’.[4] Goss doesn’t see ‘interpretation, transcription, arrangement, improvisation, and composition as different things with distinct boundaries between them.’ He suggests that ‘the distinctions can be useful, but they are artificial… rather like the colours of the rainbow’.[5] Jonathan Leathwood has proposed that Goss ‘denies traditional expectations of originality’ and that ‘the listener is drawn into a maze of referents’.[6]

An interest in music and landscape dates back to two collaborations with Charles Jencks, The Garden of Cosmic Speculation (2005) (which was featured on the South Bank Show) and Frozen Music (2006) (commissioned for the opening season of the Menuhin Hall). Through these and later projects, Goss has developed ways of balancing literal and metaphorical representations of landscape, architecture, and sculpture in music.

While Goss’s influences can be traced in the work of many musicians (for example, Beethoven, Mahler, Stravinsky, John Adams, Georg Rochberg, Miles Davis, Uri Caine, John Zorn, and Frank Zappa), his compositional approach owes as much to literature and the visual arts – James Joyce, Umberto Eco, Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, Gerhard Richter, Grayson Perry, Terry Gilliam, and Thomas Heatherwick. The strong literary connection in the music has been pointed out by Leathwood, who states that ‘there can be little doubt that Stephen Goss intends to provoke, among other things, thought in the form of words - verbal association and a kind of wordplay encoded in the music; not symbolism, but semiosis in the literary sense that modern thought has tended to give it, an interest in music as text’.[6]

Performance[edit]

As a guitarist, Stephen Goss has worked with many leading composers (such as Toru Takemitsu, Hans Werner Henze, Peter Maxwell Davies and Elliott Carter) and has toured and recorded extensively with the Tetra Guitar Quartet and other ensembles. He has recorded more than 20 CDs as a soloist and chamber musician and has given recitals in Europe, North and South America, and Asia. He has performed alongside Paco Peña and John Williams and has played concertos with orchestras such as the Bournemouth Sinfonietta and the English Sinfonia.

Selected list of compositions[edit]

Orchestral, Choral & Large Ensemble[edit]

  • The Paganini Concerto (for guitar and orchestra) 2014
  • Concerto for Five (for violin, saxophones, cello, piano, double bass and orchestra) 2013
  • Piano Concerto (for piano and orchestra) 2013
  • Guitar Concerto (for guitar and orchestra) 2012 Doberman 910
  • Songs of the Solar System (for SSA choir, unison choir, and harp) 2012
  • The Shard (for large orchestra) 2011 Doberman 895
  • The Albéniz Concerto (for guitar and orchestra) 2009 Doberman 887
  • Cottleston Pie (for SSAATTBB choir) 2001
  • Arcadia (for nineteen solo strings) 1996
  • Dreamchild (for soprano and large ensemble) 1995
  • Saviour of the World (for SATB choir and organ) 1992
  • Hymnen an die Nacht (for soprano solo, baritone solo and orchestra) 1985

Chamber Music[edit]

  • The Garden of Cosmic Speculation (version for violin, viola, cello and piano) 2004/2016 Doberman 1055
  • The Flower of Cities (for violin, two guitars, double bass, and percussion) 2012 Doberman 852
  • Northern Lights (for flute, bass clarinet doubling B flat clarinet and optional soprano saxophone, and guitar) 2010 Doberman 969
  • Reflections on the Garden of Cosmic Speculation (for flute doubling piccolo & alto flute, bass clarinet doubling C clarinet and soprano saxophone, and guitar) 2010
  • Variations on a Burns Air: Scherzo (for piano quartet) 2009
  • Prelude and Gnossienne (for cello, piano and double bass) 2008
  • Uneasy Dreams (for saxophone quartet) 2006 Doberman 1054
  • Frozen Music (for guitar, violin, viola and cello) 2006 Doberman 872
  • Drums and Trumpets (for six trumpets and timpani) 2005
  • The Garden of Cosmic Speculation (for violin, cello, bass clarinet and piano) 2004 Doberman 1048
  • Tango: The White Queen (for violin, bandoneon, guitar, piano and double bass) 2003
  • Spin (for six dancers, flute, soprano saxophone, piano, guitar, sitar, video and electronics) 2003
  • Trumpets and Clocks (for four trumpets, two trombones and timpani) 2002
  • One-Nil (for brass quintet) 1994

Duos and Solos[edit]

  • Songs of Ophelia (for soprano and guitar) 2016
  • The Miller's Tale (for solo theorbo) 2015
  • The Book of Songs (for tenor and guitar) 2014 Doberman 986
  • River Winds (for violin and piano) 2011 Doberman 983
  • Caught Between (for cello and piano) 2011 Doberman 968
  • The Sea of the Edge (for solo flute) 2010 Doberman 890
  • American Pastoral (for violin and guitar) 2010 Doberman 952
  • The Autumn Song II (for cello or flute and piano) 2010 Doberman 891
  • The Autumn Song (for cello or flute and guitar) 2009 Doberman 873
  • Welsh Folksongs (for voice and guitar) 2008 Doberman 989
  • Welsh Folksongs (for melodic instrument and guitar) 2008 Doberman 981
  • From Honey to Ashes (for flute and guitar) 2007 Doberman 1000
  • Dark Knights and Holy Fools (for percussion and guitar) 2006 Doberman 953
  • Park of Idols (for cello and guitar) 2005 Doberman 871
  • Gymnopédies after Erik Satie (for flute and piano) 2003
  • First Milonga, Last Tango (for flute and guitar) 2002 Doberman 875
  • Under Milk Wood Songs (for soprano and guitar) 1990 Doberman 894
  • Six Inventions (for solo cello) 1986

Multiple Guitars[edit]

  • Talking Drums (for two guitars) 2016
  • Mahler Lieder (for four guitars) 2011 Doberman 845
  • Still the Sea (for two guitars) 2009 Les Productions d’Oz 2260
  • Welsh Folksongs (for two guitars) 2008 Doberman 981
  • The Raw and the Cooked (for two guitars) 2004 Doberman 874
  • Gnossiennes after Erik Satie (for four guitars) 2002 Doberman 947
  • Lachrymae (for four guitars) 2001 Doberman 892
  • Carmen Fantasy (for four guitars) 1998 Doberman
  • Tempo of Three Quartered (for three eight-part guitar orchestras) 1993
  • Under Milk Wood Variations (for four guitars and optional narrator) 1989 Editions Orphée 494-02831

Solo Guitar[edit]

  • Labyrinth 2016 Doberman 1036
  • Sound of Iona 2016 Doberman 1030
  • Watts Chapel 2015 Doberman 1013
  • Sonata Capriccioso 2015 Doberman 1003
  • Cantigas de Santiago 2014 Doberman 926
  • Illustrations to The Book of Songs 2014 Doberman 951
  • Sonatina after a Concerto 2013 Doberman 992
  • Marylebone Elegy 2012 Doberman 866
  • El Llanto de los Sueños 2007 Doberman
  • The Chinese Garden 2007 Doberman
  • Sonata 2006 Doberman 868
  • Raise the Red Lantern 2004 Doberman 867
  • Oxen of the Sun (for ten-string and six-string guitar) 2003 Doberman 870
  • Looking Glass Ties 2001 Doberman 1011
  • E 1996
  • Three Miniatures 1986

Solo Piano[edit]

  • Piano Cycle 2012 Doberman 1012
  • Portraits and Landscapes 2010 Doberman 893
  • Rough Music (for piano and spoken voice) 2009 Doberman 1046
  • Interludes 2008 Doberman 889
  • invisible starfall 2003
  • an ideal insomnia 2002 Doberman 996

Educational Music[edit]

  • Learn and Conquer Guitar Repertoire with Xuefei Yang (for solo guitar) 2015 Doberman 961-964
  • Japanese Water Garden (for solo guitar) 2007 ABRSM 9781860967412
  • Guildford Life (for flute, clarinets, recorders, percussion, guitar, bass guitar and piano) 2007
  • London Masala (for clarinets, percussion, guitar, 2 vinas, sitar, 4 violins, 3 tabla players, 3 mridangams and voices) 2005
  • Music Medals Pieces (for two, three and four guitars) 2003 ABRSM
  • Milonga (for solo guitar) 1999 GSMD
  • EGTA Series 'Solo Now' Pieces (for solo guitar) 1994 Chanterelle
  • Gamelan (for two guitars) 1994 Chanterelle

Selected list of recordings[edit]

Compositions[edit]

  • Looking Glass Ties on 'Stephen Goss Guitar Works Vol.1', Rui Mourinho, Edições Musica XXI (2016)
  • Sound of Iona on 'Stephen Goss Guitar Works Vol.1', Rui Mourinho, Edições Musica XXI (2016)
  • The Book of Songs on 'Songs from our Ancestors', Ian Bostridge and Xuefei Yang, Globe Music (2016)
  • Under Milk Wood Songs on 'Jarring Sounds', Danielle Reutter-Harrah and Adam Cockerham, Jarring Sounds (2014), 'Frozen Music', Jenevora Williams and Stephen Goss, Cadenza (2007)
  • Guitar Concerto on 'Concerto', John Williams, Paul Daniel and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, JCW (2014)
  • Marylebone Elegy on 'Stepping Stones', John Williams, JCW (2014)
  • Mahler Lieder on 'About Time', Tetra Guitar Quartet, BGS (2013)
  • Piano Concerto on 'Emmanuel Despax, piano', Thomas Carroll, Orpheus Sinfonia, Signum Classics (2013)
  • Park of Idols on 'Cold Dark Matter: Music for Cello and Guitar, Kimberly Patterson and Patrick Sutton, MSR (2013), 'The Garden of Cosmic Speculation', Leonid Ghorokov and Richard Hand, Cadenza (2006)
  • Circle Line (from Sonatina after a Concerto) on 'Kontinenti Live', Carlo Marchione, Guitar Art Festival (2012)
  • Still the Sea on 'Hidden Waters', ChromaDuo, Naxos (2012)
  • The Raw and the Cooked on 'Hidden Waters', ChromaDuo, Naxos (2012), 'The Raw and the Cooked', Albach Duo, Crystal Palace Records (2007), 'Songs Without Words', Hand-Dupre Duo, Cadenza (2005)
  • The Albéniz Concerto on 'Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez; Stephen Goss: Albéniz Concerto', Xuefei Yang, Eiji Oue, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, EMI Classics (2010), 'Classical 2012' Virgin Classics (2011)
  • Gnossiennes after Erik Satie on 'El Calor del Dia', Barrios Guitar Quartet (2011), 'Carmen', Tetra Guitar Quartet, Cadenza (2004)
  • Northern Lights on 'Northern Lights', Susie Hodder-Williams, Chris Caldwell, Graham Roberts, FMR Records (2011)
  • Reflections on the Garden of Cosmic Speculation on 'Northern Lights', Susie Hodder-Williams, Chris Caldwell, Graham Roberts, FMR Records (2011)
  • The Sea of the Edge on 'Northern Lights', Susie Hodder-Williams, Chris Caldwell, Graham Roberts, FMR Records (2011)
  • The Autumn Song on 'Northern Lights', Susie Hodder-Williams, Chris Caldwell, Graham Roberts, FMR Records (2011)
  • Welsh Folksongs on 'Northern Lights', Susie Hodder-Williams, Chris Caldwell, Graham Roberts, FMR Records (2011), 'Adam Khan and Michael Bochmann', The Barn Records (2010), 'Voyage to Patagonia', Welsh Argentine Guitar Duo, WAG Records (2010), 'we only came to dream', Molly Kittle and Colin Thurmond, Eisteddfod (2008), 'Songs from Britain and America', Jenevora Williams and Stephen Goss, Tantallon Records (1991)
  • Portraits and Landscapes on 'Portraits and Landscapes', Emmanuel Despax, SMCSG1 (2010)
  • Uneasy Dreams on 'Uneasy Dreams', Delta Saxophone Quartet, FMR Records (2010), 'Frozen Music', Delta Saxophone Quartet, Cadenza (2007)
  • Variations on a Burns Air: Scherzo on 'Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Dimitri Smirnov, Variations on a Burns Air', Primrose Piano Quartet, Meridian (2010)
  • Sonata for Guitar on 'Resonance', Michael Partington, Rosewood (2009), 'Frozen Music', Michael Partington, Cadenza (2007), 'Stephen Goss Guitar Works Vol.1', Rui Mourinho, Edições Musica XXI (2016)
  • El Llanto de los Suenos on 'For David', David Russell, Telarc (2009), 'Stephen Goss Guitar Works Vol.1', Rui Mourinho, Edições Musica XXI (2016)
  • Interludes on 'Préluds and Interludes', Graham Caskie, Cadenza (2008)
  • Japanese Water Garden on 'Guitar Exam Pieces Grade 4', Stephen Goss, ABRSM (2009)
  • Aeolian Harp on 'Guitar Exam Pieces Grade 3', Stephen Goss, ABRSM (2009)
  • Gymnopédies after Erik Satie on 'Ariel', Catherine Handley and Andrew Wilson-Dixon, HAL Records (2008)
  • The Chinese Garden on '40 Degrees North', Xuefei Yang, EMI Classics (2008), 'Stephen Goss Guitar Works Vol.1', Rui Mourinho, Edições Musica XXI (2016)
  • Frozen Music on 'Frozen Music', Students from the Yehudi Menuhin School, Cadenza (2007)
  • Dark Knights and Holy Fools on 'Frozen Music', Craig Ogden and Paul Tanner, Cadenza (2007)
  • From Honey to Ashes on 'Hidden Tango', Jennifer Stinton and Richard Hand, Cadenza (2007)
  • The Garden of Cosmic Speculation on 'The Garden of Cosmic Speculation', Gemini, Cadenza (2006)
  • Oxen of the Sun on 'The Garden of Cosmic Speculation', Jonathan Leathwood, Cadenza (2006)
  • an ideal insomnia on 'The Garden of Cosmic Speculation', Graham Caskie, Cadenza (2006)
  • First Milonga, Last Tango on 'First Milonga, Last Tango', Anna Noakes and Richard Hand, quartz music (2006)
  • Raise the Red Lantern on 'Si Ji', Xuefei Yang, GSP (2005)
  • Carmen Fantasy on 'Carmen', Tetra Guitar Quartet, Cadenza (2004), 'Carmen Fantasy', Tetra Gutar Quartet, Hallmark (1999)
  • Lachrymae on 'Carmen', Tetra Guitar Quartet, Cadenza (2004)
  • Under Milk Wood Variations on 'TETRA', Tetra Guitar Quartet, Tantallon Records (1991)

Arrangements[edit]

  • Alborada del gracioso (Ravel) on 'Ravel, Debussy, Music for two guitars', ChromaDuo, Naxos (2016)
  • Libertango (Piazzolla) on 'The Classical Album 2015', Decca (2014), 'Cancion', Deutsche Grammophon (2013), 'Bravo! The Classical Album 2014', Deutsche Grammophon (2013), 'Guitar Moods' Deutsche Grammophon (2013), 'Latino Gold' Deutsche Grammophon (2013), 'The Classical Album 2013', Decca (2013), 'Latino', Deutsche Grammophon (2012), Milos Karadaglić
  • Four Pieces from the First Book of Consort Lessons (Thomas Morley) on 'About Time', Tetra Guitar Quartet, BGS (2013)
  • Bolero (Ravel) on 'Cancion', Deutsche Grammophon (2013), 'Guitar Moods' Deutsche Grammophon (2013), 'Latino Gold' Deutsche Grammophon (2013), Miloš Karadaglić
  • De Usuahia a la Quiana (Santaolalla) on 'Latino Gold' Deutsche Grammophon (2013), 'Cancion', Deutsche Grammophon (2013), 'Guitar Moods' Deutsche Grammophon (2013), Miloš Karadaglić
  • Quizás, quizás, quizás (Farré) on 'Cancion', Deutsche Grammophon (2013), 'Latino Gold' Deutsche Grammophon (2013), 'Latino', Deutsche Grammophon (2012), Miloš Karadaglić
  • Theme from Stephen Ward (Lloyd Webber) on 'Theme from Stephen Ward', Miloš Karadaglić, Deutsche Grammophon (2013)
  • Oblivion (Piazzolla) on 'Latino Gold' Deutsche Grammophon (2013), 'Latino', Deutsche Grammophon (2012), Miloš Karadaglić
  • Por una cabeza (Gardel) on 'Latino Gold' Deutsche Grammophon (2013), 'Latino', Deutsche Grammophon (2012), Miloš Karadaglić
  • La Cumparsita (Rodriguez) on 'Latino', Miloš Karadaglić, Deutsche Grammophon (2012)
  • Navarra (Sarasate) on 'The Best of the Classical Brits', David Garrett, Valeriy Sokolov, Xuefei Yang, David Charles Abell, London Concert Orchestra, Mail on Sunday (2008)
  • Capriccio Espagnol (Rimsky-Korsakov) on 'Carmen Fantasy', Tetra Guitar Quartet, Hallmark (1999)
  • Winter (Vivaldi) on 'Vivaldi Four Seasons', Tetra GUItar Quartet, Carlton Classics (1996)
  • Concerto in D RV93 (Vivaldi) on 'Vivaldi Four Seasons', Tetra GUItar Quartet, Carlton Classics (1996)
  • Silent Night (Gruber) on 'The Choirboy's Christmas', Anthony Way and the Choir of St Paul's Cathedral, Decca (1996)
  • Facçade (Walton) on 'By Arrangement', Tetra Guitar Quartet, Conifer (1993), 'TETRA', Tetra Guitar Quartet, Tantallon Records (1991)
  • Suite from Lieutenant Kijé (Prokofiev) on 'By Arrangement', Tetra Guitar Quartet, Conifer (1993)
  • Threepenny Opera Suite (Weill) on 'By Arrangement', Tetra Guitar Quartet, Conifer (1993)
  • Five Songs (Ives) on 'Songs from Britain and America', Jenevora Williams and Stephen Goss, Tantallon Records (1991)

As a Guitarist[edit]

  • About Time Tetra Guitar Quartet, BGS (2013)
  • Russian Guitar Music with Carl Herring, audio-b (2011)
  • Guitar Exam Pieces Grades 3&4 ABRSM (2009)
  • Guitar Exam Pieces Grades 1&2 with Richard Hand, ABRSM (2009)
  • Ave Maris Stella with Gemini, Metier (2008)
  • Frozen Music with Jenevora Williams, Cadenza (2006)
  • Watersmeet with the Tetra and Aquarelle Guitar Quartets, the Appassionata Trio, Jonathan Leathwood and Richard Wright, Cadenza (2006)
  • Carmen Tetra Guitar Quartet,Cadenza (2004)
  • The Selevan Story The St Levan Ensemble, ESG Records (1997)
  • Carmen Fantasy Tetra Guitar Quartet, Hallmark (1999)
  • Vivaldi, Four Seasons Tetra Guitar Quartet, Carlton Classics (1996)
  • The Choirboy's Christmas with the Choir of St Paul's Cathedral, Decca (1996)
  • Red Leaves The Brunel Ensemble, Cala Records (1996)
  • By Arrangement Tetra Guitar Quartet, Conifer Classics (1993)
  • Songs from Britain and America with Jenevora Williams, Tantallon Records (1991)
  • TETRA Tetra Guitar Quartet, Tantallon Records (1991)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Soundboard Vol. 40 No. 3 pp48-50 www.guitarfoundation.org
  2. ^ The Independent 2nd April 2013, News p19
  3. ^ The Albéniz Concerto, a 'new' Romantic Concerto, Classical Guitar Magazine, January 2011
  4. ^ Soundboard Vol. 41 No. 4 pp8-15 guitarfoundation.org
  5. ^ Soundboard Vol. 39 No. 3 pp30-34 www.guitarfoundation.org
  6. ^ a b Leathwood, Jonathan (2010). Ideas and idioms : composition, collaboration and interpretation in some recent guitar works (Ph.D.). University of Surrey. 

External links[edit]