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Double Concerto

for piano and string quartet



first performance: June 15, 2005

venue: Wigmore Hall, London

performer(s): Royal Quartet and David Horne

scoring: piano and string quartet

click here for pdf of score (1st 23 pages)- will open in new window

programme note:

The choice of title for this work, Double Concerto, struck me as an appropriate one due to the relationship of the piano and string quartet throughout. They act as two quite distinct elements battling against each other, often with a high level of energy. In structural terms, the work is fashioned in one large movement, lasting around twenty minutes, but this is broken into several smaller sections that are defined in terms of mood and tempo. These coalesce somewhat to create three larger sections, broadly sounding fast-slow-fast.

The piano is the dominant musical catalyst at the beginning of the work, sputtering out rapid configurations of notes, around which the strings tremble nervously. Gradually, the quartet emerges out of this, until about 3 minutes into the piece, they introduce a rapid pizzicato dance-like figure, which throws them into conflict with the piano. This idea is developed throughout the piece, and explores a variety of moods, from the whimsical to the violent, employing a series of tempo relationships which glues together these varying characters.

In the middle of the work, a more becalmed section explores more synthesis between the piano and the quartet, as they pun of each other aurally. This leads towards a subdued set of utterances from the string quartet, eventually broken by the piano interspersing jabs of earlier material. Following this, the pace increases, and there are extreme uses of dynamics at certain points, with the piano and quartet alternating separately between loud and soft attacks, at one stage sounding like an odd hybrid instrument. Additionally, the dance-like material intensifies and there is a final assault between the piano and quartet as the work draws to a close.

David Horne
Manchester, June 2005

other works

complete list. opera/theatrical. orchestral. ensemble. chamber. solo. vocal/choral.