Double Act has been commissioned by The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic for Ensemble 10:10 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the first concert of the ensemble. Funds towards the commission have been provided by the Liverpool Culture Company.
To someone who has always felt an attraction to numbers in the creation of musical language and structure, the opportunity of writing a piece for the tenth anniversary of that first concert at 10:10pm on the tenth day of the tenth month has a certain appeal. So it is that the piece falls into ten sections, and the harmonic organisation is underpinned by 10 note chords, which are most clearly audible towards the end of the work.
Beyond this, however, the piece focuses upon pairs of instruments. The leading protagonists, piano and cello, are frequently heard in duet or dialogue; other instruments tend to explore various partners until they final pair up in the final section, which I see as a kind of recessional.
Of the ten sections, some function more like the tuttis in a baroque concerto grosso, and others have more of a concertante character. Throughout its composition I have been thinking of the piece dramatically, almost like a sequence of dances or mimes, rather than the more abstract mini-concerto grosso it might appear on the surface.