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BBC Symphony Orchestra plays A Fist Full of Fives 08 Nov

BBC Radio 3 performance, November 8

The BBC Symphony Orchestra, under conductor Michael Seal, performed Adrian's orchestral work A Fist Full of Fives, on BBC Radio 3. Click below to hear a 5-min extract..)




A Fist Full of Fives is scored for an identical orchestra to that required by Beethoven's 5th Symphony.

Here's Adrian's programme note:

When the Corinthian Chamber Orchestra asked me to write a piece for them, they said I could do anything I liked.. but mentioned that every other piece in the premiere's concert was related to the number five in some way.

Well. They asked for it! I decided to go overboard in deploying quint-essential 'five'-ness throughout the piece, just for the hell of it. In every way I could.. While still making it (hopefully) enjoyable to play and listen to.

Five-ness in what ways? Initially I imagined it as a kind of exciting tournament in which competing and contrasting groups of five instruments - quintets - jostle and spar for victory, over the course of five little sections or movements making up the 10 (=2 x 5) minute duration. 

The plan changed somewhat as I went along, but there are quintets.. and it is in five sections (though it runs as one continuous piece).  The central thrust though, is that the number five ended up permeating the structure and material of the piece in plenty of other ways: the whole thing is in five beats to the bar (5/4); the principal motivic material is built largely on the interval of a fifth, and 'five-y' devices abound everywhere in the melodic and harmonic material. 

In an ideal world, the piece would have been premiered on the 5th of May.  But at least that was the day I delivered the score and parts to the orchestra.. (and I collected them from the printer's at 5pm..)



BBC Symphony Orchestra plays A Fist Full of Fives