Two Part Invention


chamber ensemble of 19 players
Mixed Chamber Ensemble
fl(=picc).afl(=picc).ob.2 cl.2 bcl.bsn - 1211 -perc(2): 2 anvil/spring coils/crot/4 tam-t/bell tree/2 vib/2 glsp/tgl/2 siz.cym/t.bells/hand bells - pno - harp - amplified vlc.db
Commissioned by Music Projects, London
First Performance
11.6.88, Almeida Festival, London: Music Projects/Richard Bernas

Score (fp) 0-571-55721-X on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes
Colin Matthews Two Part Invention (1988) The title does not refer to the use of two part counterpoint, (in fact the largely wind, brass and (metal) percussion ensemble of 19 players is several times divided into 19 individual parts) but to the division of the work into two halves, both of which last for between 8 or 9 minutes. In the first of these, concertante groupings of (usually) three instruments come and go out of the ensemble, often overlapping and being superimposed to produce somewhat hectic free-jazz-like tuttis. The second part (there is no break) is dominated by amplified cello, which after a manic cadenza, is the most prominent voice (though not always the most important) in an extremely long melodic line, which slowly grows in complexity as it splits into the three separate strands, before being whisked away back to the opening sounds of the piece. Two Part Invention was commissioned by Music Projects/London and partly funded by the Arts Council. It is dedicated to ‘Elliot Carter in the year of his eightieth birthday’. Colin Matthews

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News & Reviews

'Two Part Invention' reviews

'… the first of this work’s two parts is a vivid display of manically interacting traces and patterns. At its height, an amplified cello seizes the foreground and temporarily everything else freezes. What follows is a song of enormous length, growing in intensity, and this time the culmination is held back to bursting point so that the rapid music breaks out again with a surging sense of release.' The Independent (Robert Maycock), 24 March 1990 Read more

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