by Nicholas Maw

solo cello
Commissioned for the RNCM Manchester International Cello Festival by the BBC
First Performance
3.5.01, Royal Northern College of Music's International Cello Festival, Manchester: Ralph Kirshbaum

Score (fp) 0-571-56698-7 on sale

Programme Notes
Nicholas Maw NARRATION for Solo Cello Narration was commissioned for the RNCM Manchester International Cello Festival by the BBC. Works for solo single-line instruments – particularly string instruments - have always appeared to me as metaphors for private conversations between individuals, and like absorbing conversations works in this genre have a unique quality of intimacy and concentration. This is not musical scene painting; it is musical dialogue - or monologue. This work is a further attempt of mine to meet the challenge of what I have always considered a very demanding form of instrumental writing and of music making. (I have previously written solo works for violin, double bass and flute.) It has been my experience that in order to produce the substantive linear quality such works demand, the musical events that are their substance need to be informed by an overriding sense of narrative, and, on this occasion, I decided to take this as a concept and build the whole work around it. The work is cast in a single movement divided into four clearly defined sections. The opening section, marked Declamatory, contains a variety of ideas and moods; the second is a fast moving pizzicato; the third a form of arioso gradually gathering in intensity, and the fourth section, marked Fast, and with nervous energy, encompasses previous thoughts from the ‘narrative’ and climaxes in a short recitative just before the finish. Nicholas Maw

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