Duo Concertante

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page one of Duo Concertante

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Full details

Duo Concertante was written in 2014 and is for Vibraphone, Marimba and String Quintet. The duration is 11.5 minutes.

The title suggests a kind of concerto on a small scale, with the vibraphone and marimba as soloists. There are five sections which play without a break: a fast irregular rhythmic opening called ‘Dialogues’, a short ‘Interlude’, a slow ‘Passacaglia’, a short ‘Cadenza’ (mainly for the soloists) and a ‘Finale’.

The first section starts with short loud chords in the strings, after which the soloists take over. This happens a second time and is followed by a calmer melodic section. After a while, the opening chords resume and the soloists calm the pace for the Interlude. This is slower and starts on high strings and soloists, but these fade away as the strings slowly descend. The Passacaglia opens with the main theme on the double bass and this is repeated in various guises. The climax occurs with the theme on high strings played tremolo, then the soloists play the same. This abruptly cuts off leading to soft developments of the main theme.

Calm is abruptly interrupted by the Cadenza, in the centre of which the main melodic idea from the first movement is stated. Excitement builds, then calms down, leading to the Finale. Again this opens with a duet for the soloists, but the strings take over a fast descending phrase and repeat the soloist’s duet in the bass. These ideas are developed and interrupted by a very fast string figuration out of which the vibraphone states the opening idea. Excitement builds up and a development of the opening chords is stated, and the piece builds to a fast and exciting close.

Score ID
Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
11 minutes
Modern classical music

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