Commissioned by the Northern Sinfonia and first performed at The Sage Gateshead by the Northern Sinfonia conducted by Thomas Zehetmair on 4 June 2010.

  • 2(pic)2(ca)2(bcl)2(cbn)/2200/2perc/
  • 23 min

Programme Note

Having the opportunity to write for such a wonderful virtuoso orchestra as the Northern Sinfonia, led me at a very early stage to the idea of composing a sequence of miniature Concerti Grossi, each one with its own instrumentation, tempo, musical character and grammar. The piece became a rich exploration of the musical potential of writing for a solo ‘concertino’ group and a tutti ripieno ensemble that both change with each movement. Although the composition is divided into eight different parts, they have all been woven together into one seamless continuity, where the connecting tempi of each creates a fluid ‘ebb and flow’ of varying temporal movement and where the musical surface gradually transforms over the twenty minute duration of the piece to reveal myriad perspectives of shifting background and foreground instrumental polyphony. Concerti Grossi is scored for double woodwind (with doublings) two horns, two trumpets, harp, piano. two percussion (including a two octave set of chromatic boobams in the seventh movement!) and strings.

Concerti Grossi is dedicated to the loving memory of my mother Nan Bainbridge (1919-2010).

Simon Bainbridge, May 2010