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Helen Grime

Publisher: Chester Music

Double Concerto (2015),
Commissioned by Hallé Concerts Society
Chester Music Ltd
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
20 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
Clarinet in B flat, Trumpet in C/Flugelhorn in B flat
Programme Note
Helen Grime Double Concerto (2015),
When writing this 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 these 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.

  • 07 MAY 2015
    Double Concerto World Premiere
    Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, UK
    Halle Orchestra
    Marcus Stenz, conductor

Grime is a confident and persuasive colourist, generous but not profligate in her instrumentation, witty too. Small details made a big impact; the belated addition of a tuba to the bottom of the chord, baroque flurries of acciaccaturas and giddy trumpets.
Anna Picard, The Times,11/05/2015
I certainly hope to have an opportunity to hear it again.
Peter Conners, Bachtrack,08/05/2015
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