Virga

Helen Grime (1981)

Virga 2007

3333 - 4321 - timp - perc(2/3) - harp - cel - strings
Duration 
6
Genre 
Commissioner 
Publisher 

Virga opens with a striking gesture in woodwind and tuned percussion that is to become a recurring feature throughout the piece. In this fast moving five minute long piece, there is much rapid passagework in the strings, in particular a series of turbulent cascading runs, as well as a stately chorale in the brass. About half way through the piece, there is an extended melody for the 1st violins, at first unaccompanied and later coloured by other sections of the orchestra. The extremes of register that were available to me in the orchestra are amplified and highlighted during the small time-scale, and were essential in determining the shape of the piece.

Virga is precipitation that falls from a cloud but evaporates before it reaches the ground. It can produce rather dramatic and beautiful scenes, especially during a sunset.

© H.G.

Performances 
1.7.07 Barbican Hall, London: London Symphony Orchestra/Yan Pascal Tortelier
29.8.10 Baltic Sea Festival, Stockholm, Sweden: Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding
12.11.10 Usher Hall, Edinburgh: Royal Scottish National Orchestra
13.11.10 Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow: Royal Scottish National Orchestra
17.11.11 Bridgewater Hall, Manchester: Hallé Orchestra / Mark Elder
12.5.12 Jena, Germany: Jenaer Philharmonic
83.16 BBC Maida Vale studios, London: BBC Symphony Orchestra/Jessica Cottis
3
Flute
2nd & 3rd doubling piccolo
3
Oboe
3rd cor anglais
3
Clarinet
3rd bass clarinet
3
Bassoon
3rd contrabassoon
4
Horn
3
Trumpet
2
Trombone
2nd bass trombone
1
Tuba
1
Timpani
3
Percussion
2 or 3 percussion players
1
Harp
1
Piano
celesta
(Esc)