Commissioned by the BBC

  • 4(2pic:afl).3(ca).4(Ebcl:bcl).3(cbn)/6.4inC.2+btbn.1/timp.5perc/2hp/str
  • 26 min

Programme Note

The title of this work refers both to the way it is constructed and to the nature of its content. It is a continuous piece made up of six movements, the first three of which are ‘doubled’ in the same order by the remaining three. (In 18th century keyboard music, the French word double had a specific technical meaning, and was used to mean “a variation, particularly one in which more or less elaborate ornamentation is added to the original melody, while the supporting harmonies [i.e. the bass line] remain the same” (Grove)).

In this work, the forms of each of the first three movements are doubled by the remaining three, rather than any melodic or harmonic elements, and it is this aspect of the piece that was the driving principle in its composition. Nevertheless, most of the material for this work is stated in its first few pages, and this material is constantly varied and developed in each of the six pieces.

There is also a further play on the meaning of the title in that each double shows a different aspect of the ideas and character of its original, changing, so to speak, its nature, direction and personality. For example, the first piece starts loudly and spirals inwards towards a quiet ending while its Double, the fourth piece, starts fairly lightly and spirals outwards, increasing relentlessly in force and volume.

Doubles was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 for performance by the BBC Symphony Orchestra. It was completed in February 2009, and lasts approximately 26 minutes.

© B.E.


Doubles: I. —
Doubles: II. —
Doubles: III. —
Doubles: IV. —
Doubles: V. —
Doubles: VI. —