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Robert Hugill
1955 -
Great Britain, England
Picture Picture
R. Hugill
Robert Hugill (03/07/1955), an English composer, born in Cleethorpes (North Lincolnshire). He writes attractive, accessible contemporary classical music in a variety of genres. Recent performances have included sacred motets, orchestral music and a one-act opera. In June 2004, FifteenB presented a programme at the Chelsea Festival which showcased 6 of Robert’s motets. Robert is a member of the Latin mass choir at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Chelsea. His sacred music is much influenced by the Gregorian chant which he regularly performs at St. Mary’s.
Requiem 'For Butti: In memoriam Robert Buttimore'
Composed in:1999
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
In memory of:Robert Buttimore
Label(s):own release Robert Hugill
This requiem is for SATB choir and soprano solo. It contains:
- Introit
- Kyrie
- Dies irae
- Offertory
- Sanctus
- Benedictus
- Agnus Dei
- Communion
- In Paradisum
Robert Hugill's requiem is, from its very opening, firmly anchored in the glorious polyphony of the English Renaissance: lines derived from plainsong, the modal flavouring of passages in conjunct motion, and the odd spicy false relation combine to mean that it would not be unreasonable to place this new work in the tradition of Vaughan Williams. To RVW, the music of the English Golden Age had as much power to move 20th Century audiences as when it was written some 450 years ago and at the première of his requiem Hugill emphasised his own indebtedness to 16th Century English composers by interspersing the movements with organ works by Tallis, Byrd, Taverner and their contemporaries. Hugill's music is also, however, highly individual, combining austerity with a rich variety of expression. The forthright Christe Eleison, for example, contrasts with the sublime and comforting Hosanna and this in turn suddenly brings to mind no lesser work than Gabriel Fauré's own Requiem. While the Dies Irae opens with the plainchant used by Berlioz, Rachmaninov and all the rest, however, Hugill's extended setting remains indebted to Renaissance models as dense, agitated passages of polyphony wreathe around cantus-firmus-like long-note ideas. From a practical point of view, good choirs will find it eminently singable. At its première at St. Mary's, Cadogan Street, Chelsea, on 22nd June 2000, it was performed, persuasively by FifteenB and special mention must be made of the soprano soloists, Felicity Ford and Rowena Wells, whose ethereal singing was particularly appropriate at the most poignant moments.
Author:John Humphries
April 1999, saw the première in Pittsburgh of the play 'Candle Dancing' by Coni Ciongoli-Koepfinger along with my substantial score for the play. Billed as a 'medieval musical drama', 'Candle Dancing' called for an on-stage sung Requiem mass which developed into a striking finale which was to be sung and danced. To link the disparate numbers, I used the haunting plainchant Introit from the Requiem Mass, which supplied source material for all the movements. The score for the play won a commendation in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Critics Pick of the year for 1999. Understandably, the sung Requiem mass had to be quite brief and I decided to re-work it for liturgical use, adding the missing movements. The decision to add a setting of the Dies Irae meant that the work developed into a substantial concert work. The work is dedicated to Robert Buttimore, a friend who died during the final months of composition in Autumn 1999. The "Introit" opens with the first four notes of the plainchant "Introit". The "Introit", "Kyrie", "Sanctus" and "Agnus Dei" are all developed from the plainchant "Introit". Though scored for unaccompanied four-part choir, a soprano solo is used at critical moments to soar over the choir. The "Dies irae" is based on the traditional plainchant "Dies irae", and sets all 24 verses of the poem. Initially the plainchant is sung by the basses and alternating verses are embellished by the choir. Gradually the choir unravels and develops the plainchant until by the end of the piece, its presence is barely felt. The piece concludes with a re-statement of the final words "Pie Jesu" to the original plainchant.