Andrew Hugill: Doublemain

Doublemain was composed in 1989 and is dedicated to Dave Smith. It exists in six versions to date:

Here is the FULL SCORE of the violin and piano version.

The five sections of this composition are related only by virtue of their falsehood:

1) Vizier Asaf (pseudo-Islamic)
2) Doublemain (cod Ancient Greek)
3) Balkis (mock Egyptian), coupled with
4) Solomon (plagiarist by anticipation)
5) Rehoboam (false Solomon)

The idea for the piece came from my work on John Harman's translation of Alfred
Jarry's 'The Other Alcestis'. From an admixture of myths, Jarry spins a complex of
yarns around the five characters mentioned above. Doublemain is the most Jarryific -
his version of Charon (the ferryman of the dead in Greek mythology). The text
describes him thus:

"His back appeared to be plated with bronze, or covered with scales similar to myrtle
leaves, like those of a snake. His long arms reached over the side and were lost in the
water as if the great beetle of the marshes, whose carapace was our conveyance, were
rowing with its hairy, median pair of legs."

and, later

"...Doublemain's arms had two elbows, since an extra arm sprang from each wrist..."

Some further notes:
Just as Jarry's story interweaves fact and myth, contemporary reference and
ancient history, near-quotation and original writing; so the musical content of
Doublemain mixes original material with occasional reference to other musics, both
real and imaginary.

'Vizier Asaf' mimics a Mediterranean folk-player influenced by music from
further East, and should be played in that idiom.

In 'Doublemain' a wholly inaccurate attempted realisation of fragments of
musical notations from ancient Greece precedes a brief altered quotation from Claude
Terrasse's music for Jarry's poem 'Tatane', which is followed by a further distortion of
the 'Greek' material. The whole section is heard through a haze of piano harmonics.

The "short-short-long-long" rhythm of the 'Balkis' section appeared in a rather
old book on Egyptology. Having established that it is impossible to know how ancient
Egyptian music would have sounded, the writer proceeds to assert that this rhythm
was 'probably the sort of thing they would have used'. There is a mental picture for
this section: a bored archaeologist alternately whistling and tapping with the hammer.

Woven into the accompaniment in 'Solomon' are some direct musical
references to the "exotic" apparition of King Solomon to Faust in Busoni's opera
Doktor Faust , a moment rich in symbolism and layering of imagination.

Rehoboam was Solomon's son, but he lacked his father's wisdom. Through
pointless extravagance he dissipated Solomon's vast wealth. The piano part here takes
the figuration of the first of Chopin's Op.10 'Etudes', and passes it before a harmonic
distorting-mirror. The instruction in the score reads "somewhat gratuitously".