Grin - 2019 - 10’
For 2 oboes, 2 horns, and string orchestra

Commissioned by the Britten Sinfonia who gave the three premiere performances, led by Thomas Gould.

26.11.19 - Milton Court Concert Hall, London
24.11.19 - Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden
12.11.19 - St Andrews Hall, Norwich (WP)

To Grin is to smile with exposed teeth. When we grin, we expose perhaps the most destructive part of the human anatomy as a signal of joy or amusement, the part of us which only really exists to grind down organic matter into tiny pieces. While writing this piece, I was reminded of videos in which demonstrations of extremely destructive machines are paired with cheerful, peppy music to entice potential corporate customers, producing something absurd, comical, and somewhat disturbing. The brutality of the imagery in these videos is somehow matched by accompanying music which is in its own way brutal; brutally repetitive, and brutally cheerful, like a forced grin.

“In the frenetic, ten-minute Grin, [Haigh] paints a smeared canvas teeming with cheeky flourishes, including weird,
almost Mahlerian jigs and manically balletic swooshes, only for it to repeatedly deflate into eerie dissonance.”
- The Times

“Remarkably discombobulating” - Seen and Heard International