Stephen Goss

Looking Glass Ties

nine pieces for solo guitar

duration: up to 21 minutes

Looking Glass Ties

1 invisible starfall
2 Some Like It Hot
3 Brazil
4 Rockaby
5 Sonata K25
6 Late Music
7 In this Style 10/6
8 the creep of varying light
9 Twelve Monkeys

The initial idea for this set of pieces came from Peter Blake's cover design for the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album. The diverse portraits that make up Looking Glass Ties are re-workings of existing pieces displayed in a new light and from a different perspective – pieces through the looking glass.

There are abrupt stylistic changes between movements and the degree to which the borrowed material is transformed varies greatly from piece to piece. For instance, in Twelve Monkeys the fragments of Piazzolla Tangos, on which the piece is based, are barely recognisable, and the rhythmic template for Some like it hot, originally taken from a short cue from Bernard Herrmann’s score to Truffaut’s film Fahrenheit 451, became completely buried by other references and quasi-quotations. Conversely, Sonata K.25 is simply a transcription of a complete Scarlatti Sonata, transformed only by the addition of a few extra notes and the instruction to perform it anachronistically, ignoring historical performance practice. My concern is not that an audience recognises the various 'quotations', but more with the possibilities uncovered when working with other composers' material.

The nine pieces can be played as a complete set, which lasts approximately 21 minutes. Alternatively, any number of the pieces may be selected and performed in any order to suit the contexts of specific recital programmes.

Stephen Goss was born in Camarthenshire in 1964. He studied with Robert Saxton, Peter Dickinson and Anthony Payne at The Royal Academy of Music and at Bristol and London Universities. His music has been performed in Europe, America, the Middle East, South East Asia and Australia and is published in Germany, the USA, and in the UK. Cadenza Music is currently in the process of publishing a complete collection of his chamber music. He is lecturer in composition at the University of Surrey.

Steve has recently written an orchestral song cycle for Jane Manning, Dreamchild, and Alte Klang for pianist Graham Caskie. His music is recorded by Decca, Conifer Classics, Carlton Classics and his Carmen Fantasy was released to great critical acclaim by Hallmark Records in 1999, "This party-piece disc of the year achieves the impossible" - BBC Music Magazine.

First performances in 2002 have included: Gnossienne, Purcell Room, London; Trumpets and Clocks, Guildford Cathedral; Threepenny Music, Bath International Guitar Festival; Cottleston Pie, John Armitage Memorial Concerts in London and Cambridge; Lachrymae, Colorado International Guitar Festival; and First Milonga, Last Tango, Dundee International Festival.

Steve’s current projects include a new CD of his chamber music and In Parenthesis, a multi-media collaboration with artist Brian Dunce based on the work of Welsh poet David Jones. He has had four works shortlisted by the spnm; Dreamchild and Arcadia in 1998 and Looking Glass Ties and Tango in 2002.

As a guitarist, Steve has won the Julian Bream Prize, made a number of recordings and toured world-wide with the TETRA guitar quartet, "Players of first rate technical control and sensitive musicianship. TETRA ranks amongst the very best in the world" - Gramophone. He has broadcast on BBC2, GMTV, BBC Radio 3, Radio 4, Radio 2 and Classic FM.

Steve joined the music department at Surrey in September 1999 after six years teaching at the Yehudi Menuhin School, where he also coached football. He has always been a passionate Arsenal fan.

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