Concerto for Cello No.2


cello and orchestra
Solo Instrument(s) with Orchestra, Cello
2.2.Ebcl.1.bcl.2.cbsn - 4231 - timp - perc(3): 2 BD/4 tom-t/bongos/tam-t/susp.cym/siz.cym/tgl/tamb/lujon/log drum/2 c.bells/ratchet/sleigh bells/sandpaper block/guiro/vib/glsp - harp - strings (ideally
Commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra with funds partially provided by the Arts Council of England
First Performance
17.9.96, Barbican Hall, London: London Symphony Orchestra/Mstislav Rostropovich/Sir Colin Davis

Score 0-571-56733-9 (fp) on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes

Colin Matthews Cello Concerto no 2 My Second Cello Concerto was commissioned shortly after the first performance of my orchestral piece Memorial, which Rostropovich conducted in the LSO’s ‘Festival of Britten’ in February 1993. It was composed between September 1994 and April 1996. It’s a very contrasting piece to my first concerto, in which the cello is often almost submerged under luxurious orchestral textures. I’ve tried to write something much sparer and at the same time more lyrical. Writing for Rostropovich is a huge challenge - for me the major difficulty was in avoiding the sort of virtuosic writing that can end up as mere fireworks without any substance. Consequently in the third movement, a dynamic scherzo, it’s the orchestra that really goes to town, while the cello plays (though not entirely unvirtuosically!) only in the trio sections. There are five movements, which play without a break: the whole work lasts a little under half an hour. The movements have the following titles (and character): Declamation – slow, sustained and intense; Song without text – sustained and rhetorical; Scherzo – fast and dark; Song without text – soft and sustained, with a background of string harmonics; Resolution – a résumé of the work, both slow and fast, ending almost as it began. Colin Matthews

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News & Reviews

'Concerto for Cello No 2' reviews

‘The ghosts of Mahler and Britten haunt the orchestral colouring: a halo of high violin sound surrounds the opening statement from the cello; the harp sets off the exquisitely beautiful first ‘Song without Text’; menacing muted horns and growling trombones invade the Scherzo. Only in the rumbustious central movement is the full orchestra given its head, freed, by and large, from the restraint of accompanying.’ The Independent (Annette Morreau), 20 September 1996 Read more

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