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Blue Work


Concerto Grosso

for flute, harpsichord and strings

Year:  2015 Instrumentation:  Flute doubles alto flute

Year:  2015
Instrumentation  Flute doubles alto flute

Composer:   Andrew Perkins

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About

Perkins has made an intense study of important periods of innovation in the history of music composition which he refers to as historic nodal points. Drawing on these historical reference points, his music reasserts the central importance of melody. The outward radiating construction of the music is not dependent on a fundamental harmonic bass line, but represents a new perspective in composition, a form of centrifugal polyphony that has the melodic and rhythmic freedom of medieval plainchant.

Adrianna Lis asked Andrew Perkins to create a work for flute, harpsichord, and strings. The result was this three-movement Concerto Grosso: in each movement Perkins uses a different scalar formation as the building block from which he generates the melodic content, the polyphonic textures, and resultant non-functional harmonies.

The three movements in turn move from brooding darkness, to passionate melodic invention, then finally to light and celebration:

The first movement comprises a dark and brooding Preludium; the dark-toned alto flute is used to open and close the movement. The work features strutting dotted rhythms throughout, a reference to similar rhythms that open and close 18th century French Overtures.

The second movement contains long sweeping melodic lines built over a series of descending thirds and seconds, Perkins’ own “loose interpretation” of a chaconne’s recurring harmonic sentence. A countermelody, at first introduced below the initial melody and texture, is eventually placed above; after this climactic statement, the initial melodic idea is reasserted before the work concludes.

The third movement is the most elusive, comprising shimmering textures from which are spun fragments of melodic counterpoint, passages of sequential imitation, and glistening cascades of flute bravura; the conclusion of the work is celebratory and euphoric, comprising waves of sparkling resultant harmonies and motivic invention.


Commissioned note

Commissioned by Adrianna Lis


Contents note


I – Preludium
II – Chaconne
III – Fantasia


Performance history

24 Jul 2016: Performed by the Auckland Chamber Orchestra, Music Director Peter Scholes with Adrianna Lis, flutes, at the Raye Freedman Centre, 27 July 2016.