• Helen Grime
  • Seven Pierrot Miniatures (2010)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Hebrides Ensemble and first performed on their Scottish tour in March 2010.

Commissioned by the Hebrides Ensemble

  • fl(pic).cl(bcl)/pf/vn(va).vc
  • 12 min
    • 10th July 2022, Seiji Ozawa Hall, Lenox, MA, United States of America
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Programme Note

In Seven Pierrot Miniatures, I took the Commedia d’elle Arte character, Pierrot, as my primary source of inspiration. Other, more tenuous, links to Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire also served as a starting point in forming the general shape of the work. The piece is cast in seven short movements whereas the Schoenberg is in three sets of seven movements. Although there is no part for voice, I have taken seven poems by Albert Giraud (none of them set in Pierrot Lunaire) as points of departure:

1. The Clouds
2. Decor
3. Absinthe
4. Suicide
5. The Church
6. Sunset
7. The Harp

Each movement takes its impetus from the corresponding poem, but in the piece as a whole, I wanted to explore the extreme contrasts of the multi-faceted character of Pierrot in a musical setting. There is an almost mirror-like quality to the form of the piece and a sense of ending where it has begun: movements 1, 3, 5 and 7 are closely linked, both in terms of their musical material and a sense of melancholy, dream-like quality and longing. Movements 2 and 6 are also strongly connected, with allusions to the more mischievous, violent side of Pierrot. Movement 4 serves as a sort of pivot point within the work, juxtaposing a surreal, shimmering calm with brutal outbursts. There is never any direct repetition, yet there is a strong sense of material returning and mutating as the work unfolds.

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