• Helen Grime
  • Fantasie, Danse, Cérémonie (2010)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by Enterprise Music Scotland.

  • fl/hp
  • 12 min

Programme Note

As I was working on Fantasie, Danse, Cérémonie, I was struck by the history and cultural associations connected with the combination of flute and harp. I immediately associated the two instruments with French music of the early 20th century and more specifically Debussy and Ravel. This was both inspiring and somewhat off-putting. I decided that I wanted to embrace this tradition in part, hence the French title, but that the piece would also focus on attributes of the two instruments and their grouping that is wholly foreign to the genre in general.
The work is cast in three movements, as the title suggests. In Fantasie, the two instruments enjoy a great deal of freedom and are largely unsynchronised in the opening passage. After a series of virtuosic cadenzas in the flute and resonant harp chords, a sense of calm pervades. A gentle and intricate harp texture forms the basis for a somewhat muted flute line. The movement ends with a more rhythmical and quirky harp solo, which paves the way into the Danse. After the two instruments have asserted their differences in the first movement, Danse sets out to create a single unified line. The tempo is fast, and there is much virtuosic passagework for both instruments. In Cérémonie, free spacious sections are juxtaposed with more agitated, scherzo-like passages. The movement opens with a gentle, rocking solo for the harp and is brought to a close with the same figure in the flute accompanied by lulling harp chords.