Nick Daniel Evelyn Glennie World Premiere

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Home Forums Announcements Double Reeds in the News Nick Daniel Evelyn Glennie World Premiere

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    Delmar Williams


    There is an extended English horn solo at the beginning of the piece as well


    Inspired by the engraving of a huntsman’s funeral from a book of children’s fairy tales, Mahler’s First Symphony brilliantly captures the image’s enchanting yet macabre quality. Thea Musgrave’s new BBC commission, specially written for tonight’s soloists, creates a dramatic play for attention between the two divergent players, who begin far apart yet reconcile their differences by the end of the work.

    Thea Musgrave
    Two’s Company (BBC commission: world premiere) (21 mins)


    Symphony No. 1 in D major (55 mins)

    Dame Evelyn Glennie percussion
    Nicholas Daniel oboe
    BBC Symphony Orchestra

    Thea Musgrave (born 1928)
    Two’s Company (2005)

    BBC commission: World Premiere.

    This piece appears in Prom 63


    This work was commissioned by the BBC for Evelyn Glennie and Nicholas Daniel. It was an exciting challenge to write a dramatic work for two such dissimilar instruments. I decided that I would strongly dramatise this difference before bringing them harmoniously together. Therefore, at the beginning of the work the two soloists are standing as far apart from each other as possible: the percussion downstage right, behind the cellos, and the oboe off-stage left. For each of the four ensuing sections the soloists move around the orchestra to different positions and these changes are always dramatically motivated. Throughout, the two soloists are aware of each other and vie for each other’s attention, but only come together musically and physically in the very last section.

    The slow first section is marked ‘Desolate, lonely’: After the oboe first enters he responds initially to the cor anglais, and then later to a solo clarinet. This encourages him to move on-stage and take a position near his fellow woodwinds which precipitates the second section. The solo percussion, hoping to attract the oboe’s attention moves to the vibraphone which is set closer at hand.

    The second section, ‘Frivolous, playful’ is a jaunty scherzo, mostly in 5/4 rhythm, and for a time it seems that the oboe responds favourably to the percussion, but then the horns attract his attention and he eventually moves so as to be close to them and the harp. In frustration the solo percussion moves to the drums (congas, tomtoms and bongos).

    The third section ‘Dramatic: furioso/ espressivo’ is a series of confrontations. Aggressive music for the percussion (supported by strings and brass) alternates with an expressive solo oboe, accompanied by horns and harp. These alternations come closer and closer together, ending in a big climax. The oboe finally turns to the solo percussionist and ‘invites’ her to listen. The percussion responds and so sets the scene for both soloists to come down stage centre and bond for the final section: ‘Warm’ leading to ‘Passionate’, and finally ‘Exultant’ – a whirling coda.

    Programme note © Thea Musgrave.


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