Different Realities for solo cello by Charlotte Bray.

Different Realities is one of a collection of 200 solo pieces commissioned to celebrate the bicentenary of the Royal Academy of Music in 2022. This work was composed in 2020 and first performed on 10 November 2020 at the Royal Academy of Music, London by Shannon Ross.

Programme Notes

Born out of my cello concerto, Falling in the Fire, this work for solo cello explores much of the same material. Motivation for the work comes from two principal sources: the destruction of the ancient city of Palmyra by the so-called Islamic State, coupled with the human horror and suffering being endured in the region, and a documentary about Tim Hetherington, the inspiring investigative photo-journalist, who was sadly killed in Libya in 2011 in a bomb explosion. Hetherington described the absurd allure of conflict zones; struck by the hidden pull he often felt when away from them to return, find the stories, and show the world what is happening in the darkest corners of our world. It is evident, certainly for Hetherington, that his experiences in conflict zones were hard to shake off on his return to life at home.

With both of these motivations, the piece snaps between adrenaline-filled conflict sections and ‘real’ life at home, where even there, the mind is in another place. The abnormality of war and what has been experienced remain, creating a numb, blurred, fragile experience that makes one question which life is ‘real’. The cello darkly sings out, defiantly.

- Charlotte Bray

Duration: 8 minutes