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Grin - 2019 - 10’
For 2 oboes, 2 horns, and string orchestra (or oboe, clarinet, two horns and string orchestra)

Commissioned by the Britten Sinfonia who gave the three premiere performances, led by Thomas Gould. Winner at the 2020 Ivors Composer Awards in the Chamber Orchestra category.

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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. - Robin Haigh

“This is a quirky, playful, bold and original work with a highly distinctive musical language and sound. It is unpredictable, taking the listener in unexpected directions.” - Ivors Composer Awards 

“Scintillating unpredictability” - Tom Service

“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