• Benedict Mason
  • Double Concerto (1989)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Aldeburgh Festival

  • 1111/0101/perc/hp.kbd/str(
  • horn, trombone
  • 19 min

Programme Note


This work is in a somewhat classical form consisting of
four short movements with the slow movement placed third
and the second movement being a Scherzo Notturno with a
Trio Diurno. In the fast movements the style is
rhythmically vital and colourful with the slower music
being rather darker. The soloists either play together in
tandem or tend to counterbalance each other's material.
However central to each movement iis a more dramatic
'contest' where the soloists function rather more
Paul Griffiths writing in The Times after the London
premiere of the work wrote:
"Mason provides a Heath Robinson housing for all
kinds of musical ideas and games. The two soloists
are a disreputable Beckettian pair, talking to each
other in flights of fancy, undercutting each other,
sharing a world of their own creation. Sometimes
that world is warped by "mistuned" harmonics on
the horn, shadowed by a synthesizer making sounds
like a pianissimo steel band. Or one might be
trying to follow some weird mechanism in the
accompaniment and suddenly find oneself taken
unawares by a sentimental violin tune. Ives and
Stravinsky are both part of the picture, but Mason
is an original."

The first performance was given by the London Sinfonietta, conductor
Oliver Knussen with Michael Thompson (horn) and David Purser (trombone)
at the 1989 Aldeburgh Festival.