Helen Grime in focus - 21/22 season

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Night Songs by Helen Grime will begin a season of premieres and performances showcasing the fertile imagination of the Scottish-born composer.

Grime's 2012 nocturnal miniature, inspired by the self-contained worlds created by artist Joseph Cornell, will be performed by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Tabita Berglund on September 22. The orchestra will also give the country premiere of Virga, this time under the baton of Mark Wigglesworth on March 18. The piece, one of Grime’s earliest orchestral successes, takes its title from the natural spectacle of precipitation that evaporates before reaching the ground.

On March 3 the Orchestre de Paris will present the French premiere of Everyone Sang in a concert conducted by Marin Alsop and Stéphanie Childress at the Philharmonie, Paris. The piece takes its title from the poem by Siegfried Sassoon and is intended to convey feelings of unity, hope and a sense of fragility.

Two new orchestral works will be unveiled in the spring. On March 25 the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin will give the world premiere of Meditations on Joy under its Music Director Robin Ticciati. As its title suggests, the three-movement piece is an exploration of joy from different perspectives. The composer writes:

'The act of composing, although often a huge challenge, can occasionally elicit the most intense feeling of joy, and that is something that I wanted to pervade the whole piece. This is contrasted by much darker music, the one often coming out of the other quite unexpectedly.'

Grime has been commissioned to write a Trumpet Concerto for the Swedish virtuoso Håkan Hardenberger by the London Symphony Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra to be premiered by the LSO in London in April followed by a tour to Germany.

Limina, a Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood commission from 2019, will receive its European premiere on October 29. The 12-minute piece, which was inspired by Tarjei Vesaas’s novel The Ice Palace, will performed in Cardiff by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Catherine Larsen-Maguire and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. In Scotland, Colin Currie will perform Grime’s Percussion Concerto with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Edinburgh and Glasgow on April 7 and 8.

'A richly layered work inspired by a scene in Tarjei Vesaas’s novel “The Ice Palace,” the piece shimmers with a duly icy radiance and then slowly morphs in texture — “Limina” means thresholds — hovering suggestively between moments of opacity and transparency.'  – Boston Globe

Grime has composed a carol for this year’s Advent carol service at St John’s College, Cambridge. Telling, which will be performed on November 27, is a short a cappella setting of an anonymous 16th century text.

String Quartet No. 2, which was premiered at Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival earlier this year, will be performed by the Heath Quartet in London’s Wigmore Hall on December 28 and at the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin on January 15. The piece was composed against the backdrop of the global pandemic and whilst expecting her second child. In her note to the piece, she describes the impact lockdown and her pregnancy had on shaping the piece, which moves from a mood of urgent intensity to a sense of release over its 19-minute course.