The FLUX Quartet will give the world premiere performances of a second string quartet by Helen Grime at at Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival on August 4 and 6. Grime composed her String Quartet No. 2 against the backdrop of the global pandemic and whilst expecting her second child. In her note to the piece, she describes the impact lockdown and her pregnancy had on shaping the piece, which moves from a mood of urgent intensity to a sense of release over its 19-minute course.
String Quartet No. 2 has been jointly commissioned by Wigmore Hall, with the generous support of Nicholas and Judith Goodison and The Radcliffe Trust; and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. The original world premiere, which was to have taken place with the Heath Quartet at Wigmore Hall on July 10 has been postponed due to illness and will now take place later this year.
Recording release, premieres and performances
Pregnancy and early motherhood were themes explored in Grime’s 2017 song cycle Bright Travellers, a setting of five poems by Fiona Benson, soon to be released in a new recording featuring soprano Ruby Hughes and pianist Joseph Middleton. The recording, part of an album entitled Songs of New Life and Love, is released by BIS Records (BIS-2468) on August 6.
On July 18 Colin Currie will give the Austrian premiere of the Percussion Concerto at the Graffenegg Festival in a performance with the festival’s Academy Orchestra. Currie premiered the concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2019 and has subsequently performed the work in the US and Sweden, with further performances planned in the 21/22 season.
The Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin has announced the rescheduled World Premiere of Grime’s Meditations on Joy, which will be conducted by Robin Ticciati at the Philharmonie, Berlin, on March 25 and 26. A sense of optimism pervades the 15-minute work, which has been co-commissioned by DSO Berlin, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC, and which the composer describes as “an exploration of joy in its many different forms”.
Grime is currently at work on a new piece for trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger to be premiered in 2022. Performances of her music are also planned to take place in Scotland, Helsinki and Paris during the 21/22 season.