Paul Raphael Ballam-Cross
This thesis examines how contemporary composers approach the guitar and counterpoint. An historical overview of the guitar is provided at the outset of the thesis, leading to detailed examination of contrapuntal technique in an extended twentieth-century work by Miklós Rózsa, and addresses effective guitar performance techniques in relation to different kinds of contrapuntal textures. These historical, technical and performance considerations then inform a series of interviews with six contemporary composers (Stephen Hough, Angelo Gilardino, Stephen Goss, Tilmann Hoppstock, Ross Edwards, and Richard Charlton). These interviews aim to provide insight into how 21st century composers approach contrapuntal writing for the guitar. The interviews are paired with detailed discussions of representative works for guitar by each composer. These discussions deal particularly with difficulties in practical performance and with how the composer has achieved their compositional goals. This thesis therefore seeks to discover how approaches to the guitar and counterpoint (including challenges, limitations and strategies) have changed and evolved throughout the instrument’s existence, up to some of the most recent works composed for it.