• Helen Grime
  • Double Concerto (2015)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by Hallé Concerts Society

  • 3(pic)2(ca)22(cbn)/422.btbn.1/timp.2perc/hp.pf(cel)/str
  • Clarinet in B flat, Trumpet in C/Flugelhorn in B flat
  • 20 min

Programme Note

My Double Concerto was commissioned by the Hallé Concerts Society in 2015 and first performed by Lynsey Marsh (clarinet), Gareth Small (trumpet) and the Hallé Orchestra conducted by Marcus Stenz.

When writing the piece, I was constantly thinking of the many, subtle meanings of the word 'double'. One of the things that interested me the most was highlighting the similarities as well as the differences between the two solo instruments. The idea that the clarinet and trumpet might be joined as one, that they might be each other's double: similar yet slightly different or composed of two like or unlike parts,to name a few. The relationship between the instruments changes throughout, they begin as if they are one voice but quickly take on different roles. I imagine the soloists as conductors of energy: they set moods and events into motion and this creates ripples and consequences in the orchestra, whose role is also changing throughout.

The concerto is in two large movements, although the second combines the second and third together, a gradual change from slow to very fast, ultimately combining both at its close.

Throughout the piece other instruments take on concertante like roles working with the two soloists. In the first movement, three flutes work alongside the solo clarinet and two oboes with solo trumpet. These instruments accompany, take impetus from and expand upon the solo lines.

In the first movement the orchestral clarinets and trumpets are tacet but they take on a central importance in the second movement. The two soloists do not play at the opening of the second movement but instead their orchestral counterpoints join in an unaccompanied chorale, a pair of each creating a sort of twofold double. Later on they separate so that we have 3 clarinets and 3 trumpets (solo plus orchestral), sometimes augmenting the solo lines and at other times shadowing them before joining forces once again at the ending.

Programme note by Helen Grime