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When discussing the idea of a concert band work with conductor Barry Wasson, he indicated he would be keen to showcase two of the best players: an oboist and a clarinetist. This led to the suggestion of a concerto-like movement with two soloists, describing the idea of the two players as being a bit like 'Jekyll and Hyde.' I seized on the idea immediately as a title for the work.
In the Robin Louis Stevenson story, mild-mannered Dr Jekyll transforms into the evil Mr Hyde - in a way that these days might be likened to a type of schizophrenia. In this work, the oboe is (naturally) the Dr Jekyll character and the clarinet the Mr Hyde character. In essence the work becomes a battle of wills - the clarinet trying to impose its jazz-influenced music on the more lyrical oboe music. At one point the two musics try to co-exist, but the clarinet eventually dominates. Towards the end of the work the oboe more or less gives up, and throws its lot in with the clarinet!
Written for the Premier Concert Band of Auckland Grammar School and conductor Barry Wassoon