Fabrice Fitch was born in Bagnères-de-Bigorre (France) and has dual nationality, having been raised in Toronto and Bordeaux. He studied composition at the Conservatoire National de Région de Bordeaux, at McGill University, and privately with Brian Ferneyhough thanks to grants from the Canada Council for the Arts. He has lived in the United Kingdom since 1991, when he went to Manchester University to work with the musicologist David Fallows. He taught music for 15 years at Durham University, and is now Head of Graduate School at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. He is also known as a reviewer, notably with Gramophone, for which he has been writing since 1993.
Agricola IXd, for bass clarinet and ensemble
My agricologies draws both its inspiration and its materials from the music of Alexander Agricola (c.1456–1506). The title ‘Agricola’ also refers to an eponymous cycle of sculptures by David Smith (1906–1965).
Agricola IX is a series of settings for solo wind instruments (cornetto muto, tenor sackbut, oboe, flute, and bass clarinet), with or without ensemble. Their materials are taken from the opening phrases of the rondeau by Johannes Ockeghem, Je n’ay dueil que je ne suis morte, to which Agricola also composed a response. In this setting, these phrases are segmented, transposed, and some compressed into quartertones. As with the other ensemble versions, the strings’ material is neither development nor commentary on the bass clarinet material, but acts rather as a ground or a resonator.
This version of Agricola IX is dedicated to my parents, Josette Fitch-Ramel and Brian Fitch.