Four Duos

Flute and cello [also oboe and cello] (1962/78)

I wrote these four short pieces shortly after returning from spending most of three years in the USA.
As a homage to Charles Ives, three of the movements (I, II and IV) use a twelve-note row from his Three-Page Sonata (1905) for piano. My own pieces mix rows informally with short tonal fragments.

The Duos had never been performed in public until I made the oboe version for Sarah Francis who gave the first performance at the Cheltenham Festival with Alexander Bailey on 9 July 1984. She made the first recording.

I. Moderato - The Ives row is announced complete by the cello and is then combined with other materials.
II. Lively and Precise – a short scherzo, which was composed against the background of a ticking and chiming clock.
III. Slowly, with Foreboding – based on part of the slow movement of a ballet score, now called Julliard Dances, which I wrote when a graduate student at the Juilliard School, New York. In the ballet this was a slightly sinister pas de deux.
IV. Bright, well articulated – a study in varied metres. At the beginning the Ives row is in slow notes with the cello and the oboe has diatonic versions. The pace builds up towards something approaching jazzy rhythms.

The oboe and cello version has been recorded by Sarah Francis and Rohan de Saram in English Music for the Oboe on Heritage HTGCD 275 in 2014.

© 2008-24 Estate of Peter Dickinson