Serenata Notturna by Edward Gregson was first performed by Helena Smart (violin) and Caroline Jaya-Ratnam (piano) at the String Final of BBC Young Musicians 2000, Royal Northem College of Music, Manchester, 23 February 2000.
"As the title suggests, my Serenata Notturna evokes the atmosphere of night music. Following a reflective opening where the pitch development outlines a twelve-note series, the music gradually becomes more agitated, developing into a kind of danse macabre, eventually reaching a powerful climax. The music then subsides into a much more tranquil atmosphere and the previous dissonant material transposes itself into a simple melody (like a lullaby), uttered by the violin, the outline of which, both melodically and in terms of the accompaniment figuration, has already been present in the piece since the beginning. Thus, the turmoil of the first part of the work becomes transfigured into something much more peaceful - hence the quotation that prefaces the score: “out of darkness cometh light”.
After I finished the work, it became apparent to me that it might become the sketch for the slow movement of a Violin Concerto on which I had just begun working. It did indeed form the basis of that slow movement and the concerto was premiered by Lyn Fletcher and the Halle Orchestra, conducted by Kent Nagano, at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, in February 2000, the same month as Serenata Notturna itself was first played in public."