(2010) – Four Horns & Orchestra
As the title suggests, the music looks to principles of both symphonic and concerto writing. There is an attempt in the piece to integrate five movements into one, where the transitions between movements become gradually more seamless. The large majority of thematic material for the piece is also developed out of a reduced set of basic ingredients in typical symphonic fashion.
The idea of gradual integration also informs the role between Horns and Orchestra, where the concertante group of Horns (which generally push up), begin by taking a bold stand against the orchestra (which generally pulls down), before ideas eventually collide and combine, working towards a kind of musical compromise (the music ends on low Doublebasses, but with the Horns’ harmony).
The music was also characterised by certain non-musical concepts including life cycles and ripples on water, as well as being a direct response to the strength of the Horn department at the Royal Academy of Music. Written soon after moving to London, the piece owes something to the characteristic energy, but also to the more nocturnal moods of that city.
Sinfonia Concertante was first performed by the Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christopher Austin in Duke’s Hall, March 2011, and was subsequently awarded the 2011 Eric Coates Prize.