• Simon Holt
  • Centauromachy - Double Concerto for Clarinet and Flugelhorn (2009)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • 1+pic+afl.1+obda.1+bcl.1+cbn/0.1.1+btbn.1/timp.perc/hp.cel/str
  • Clarinet, Flugelhorn
  • 20 min

Programme Note

Centauromachy, a double concerto for clarinet in A and flugelhorn, was inspired by centaurs. Centaurs are a race of mythical creatures that appear to have the torso of a man joined at the waist to the body of a horse, where the horse’s head and neck would normally be. They are essentially fantastical beasts that simultaneously combine two distinct natures in one body. On the one hand this may account for their wisdom, making them intelligent teachers, whilst also making them impulsive and lustful, trapped in a kind of limbo between their two inherent characters: wild and yet capable of civilised behaviour.

Chiron, who was the teacher of Achilles, is held as the superior of all centaurs and he features in a dreaming state in the second movement. Centaurs are well known for being heavy drinkers capable of violent and delinquent behaviour. Chiron, however, was highly intelligent and kind. There was once a battle between the Centaurs and the Lapiths and this features in the fourth movement. The piece ends with an Elegeia for Chiron, who died sacrificing himself in order that man might obtain the use of fire.

The five movements are:
Two natures
Chiron’s dream
A centaur glimpsed through trees
Pitched battle
Elegeia

S.H.

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