Benedict Todd

Organist · Composer · Conductor

Duo for Two Violins

Duo for two violins

  • Composed: January 2013
  • Duration: 1 min 10 sec
  • Instrumentation: Two Violins
  • Commissioned by: Bristol University Contemporary Music Venture (CMV)
  • First performance: Ruth Nelson and Roger Huckle at the Victoria Rooms, Bristol. 20th March 2013

  • Notes: Composed in response to Bartók’s ‘44 Duos for Two Violins’.

  • Programme note: This Duo for Two Violins plays with many of the key elements which struck me on first hearing the Bartók Duos. The structure seeks to echo the conciseness exhibited in all of the Bartók pieces and is, effectively, a traditional rounded binary form. The main melodic theme, which contains much of the character and joy of the more lively Bartók Duos, becomes the subject of a (relatively!) strict cannon (a favoutrite device used in these Bartók’s Duos) firstly at a two bar separation and then, in the recapitulation, at a closer one bar spacing. As is the case in many of the original Duos, this theme also focuses principally on one particular violin technique (an alternative name for the piece could be A Study in 6ths!). Whilst the harmonic style inevitably owes more to my own compositional language than that of Bartók (although it is kept deliberately ‘simple’ and clean), it nevertheless contains a distinct nod towards his use of bitonality (or perhaps bi-modality) in these books of Duos. Finally it is (unlike this programme note!) brief: a brief, joyful, musical outpouring.

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