Gabriel Williams - Codex Astralis III

Workshop performance video

Initial inspiration began from the singing styles of the British Isles, most notably that of the psalm singing of the Outer Hebrides. This music contains with in it a deep contradiction that has not only been a source of fascination for myself but also a flowering seed within my own musical imagination.

In this tradition of singing a simple melody is cast out from a ‘presenter’ to the congregation. Here the melody is repeated back with each singer recounting the melody slowly with a great deal of individual melodic decoration. The result is a sweep of sound. This music sits upon the ear as both radical and deeply traditional, as austere yet exuberant, and most notably as powerfully individual and yet communal. It is from these contradictions that the main impetus for this piece lies.

In this quartet an initial melody is stated by the first violin. This material is then taken up by rest of the players and grows organically in expanding and contracting melodic gestures.

Composer: Gabriel Williams

Composer photo
Photo of Gabriel Williams

Gabriel’s compositional journey started early. Though self-taught, being unable to afford music lessons, he won a scholarship to the Purcell School at the age of sixteen. Gabriel’s music takes deep inspiration from the human voice. His compositions have been influenced by the heterophonic singing styles of the Anglosphere as well as from early European polyphony.

Gabriel has also worked extensive in the medium of film, writing the score for several award winning independent films including ‘Once Upon a Time in Bolivia’ and ‘Mourn’. Gabriel has also worked as a cinematographer in collaboration with other film makers in addition to producing his own videographic art. Some of Gabriel’s installation work has featured in the Saatchi Gallery.


Workshop video