Centauromachy - Double Concerto for Clarinet and Flugelhorn

Simon Holt (1958)

Centauromachy - Double Concerto for Clarinet and Flugelhorn 2009

3222 / 0121/timp.perc/hp.cel/str
Duration 
20
Solist 
Genre 
Commissioner 
Publisher 

Centauromachy, a double concerto for clarinet in A and flugelhorn, was inspired by centaurs. Centaurs are a race of mythical creatures that appear to have the torso of a man joined at the waist to the body of a horse, where the horse’s head and neck would normally be. They are essentially fantastical beasts that simultaneously combine two distinct natures in one body. On the one hand this may account for their wisdom, making them intelligent teachers, whilst also making them impulsive and lustful, trapped in a kind of limbo between their two inherent characters: wild and yet capable of civilised behaviour.

Chiron, who was the teacher of Achilles, is held as the superior of all centaurs and he features in a dreaming state in the second movement. Centaurs are well known for being heavy drinkers capable of violent and delinquent behaviour. Chiron, however, was highly intelligent and kind. There was once a battle between the Centaurs and the Lapiths and this features in the fourth movement. The piece ends with an Elegeia for Chiron, who died sacrificing himself in order that man might obtain the use of fire.

The five movements are:
Two natures
Chiron’s dream
A centaur glimpsed through trees
Pitched battle
Elegeia

S.H.

Performances 
12.11.10 St David's Hall, Cardiff: Robert Plane (clarinet) / Philippe Schartz (flugelhorn) / BBC National Orchestra of Wales / François-Xavier Roth
9.8.11 BBC Proms, London: Robert Plane (clarinet) / Philippe Schartz (flugelhorn) / BBC National Orchestra of Wales / François-Xavier Roth
3
Flute
2nd doubling alto flute, 3rd doubling piccolo
2
Oboe
2nd doubling oboe d'amore
2
Clarinet
2nd doubling bass clarinet
2
Bassoon
2nd doubling contrabassoon
1
Trumpet
2
Trombone
2nd bass trombone
1
Tuba
1
Timpani
1
Percussion
1
Harp
1
Piano
celesta
(Esc)