Commissioned by Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg and Orchestre de Paris

Unavailable for performance.

  • 2(II:pic).2(II:ca).2.2(II:cbn)/
  • 20 min

Programme Note

A river has many characteristics that have inspired composers throughout history. The flow and energy, violence, and threat of destruction but also the possibility for calm and moments of glassy stasis are aspects that have driven my imagination.

My piece is in two movements; the first is full of rapid, coursing motion coupled with cascades and bright, fanfare-like outbursts. Towards its close there are sunken, muted passages that hint towards the second movement, much darker in tone. The following movement is much slower and calmer but there are layers of whirling activity keeping it in a constant state of flux. As a river gathers momentum making its way towards the sea, this movement has an inevitable sense of forward motion. I wanted to compose a piece that is in some way connected to the location of the hall, the orchestra, and Kent Nagano, so the musical material is largely derived from musical ciphers combining the letters of Elbe with the initials of orchestra and conductor. As the piece evolves, this material explodes and takes many new directions.

— Helen Grime, 2023

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