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Double Helix

for Clarinet and Violin (2008)

Written as a birthday present to the great biologist James D. Watson, the instrumental duet “Double Helix” was completed a few weeks before Dr. Watson turned 80 (April 6, 2008).

It is the second composition bearing the name of one of Manukyan's heroes. An earlier composition, called "Triumph of Reason", was also dedicated to James Watson and Francis Crick, both of who won the Nobel Prize in 1962 for discovering the structure of DNA.

“Double Helix” starts off and finishes with interlocked arpeggiations, intended to represent a musical illustration of DNA structure (the double helix):

The lyrical and thoughtful themes that emerge, played interchangeably by both instruments, gradually turn into a lively, cheerful duet, energized by the dance-like clarinet passages played against sharply articulated rhythmic motifs in the violin part.

The publication of "Double Helix" is to be part of Manukyan's "Musical Tribute To Scientists" program/collection, in which there are dedications to other prominent scientists, such as Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Steven Weinberg, Noam Chomsky, and Viktor Ambartsumian.

Below is Manukyan’s open letter to Dr. Watson:

"Dear Dr. Watson,

It is with a heart-felt gratitude and a profound sense of pride that I am congratulating You on the occasion of Your glorious 80th birthday. My small present to You is a piece in which I have expressed my impressions from observing various illustrations of DNA structure, its mysterious design and overwhelming beauty.

When I was younger, my dreams to become a scientist were short-lived as I soon became obsessed with making music. One way that I feel I can make up for a lost life as a scientist is to recognize Your unmatched contribution to science by this modest dedication to You. Please, take care of Your health and enjoy Your birthday. Your life and well-being is a personal treasure for me, and I feel privileged, beyond measure, that I am able to communicate with You on this special day.

I press Your hand warmly,

Edward Manukyan"

Los Angeles, 04/06/08

Watch video excerpts from "Double Helix"

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