From the Innermost Places for Solo Cello by Charlotte Bray.

This work was first performed on 24 June 2022 at the Aldeburgh Festival in Snape Maltings, Suffolk, UK, by Anssi Karttunen.

Commissioned by Anssi Karttunen and written in loving memory of Oliver Knussen.

Programme Notes

Few people, who find success in their work, achieve it without the help of others. As a mentor to me, Olly was a genuine gift; one for which I remain eternally grateful. Even now, when I have an issue to resolve, I think what Olly might say if I were to ask him, like I used to. To have his opinion again on a particular piece, or phrase, or note even. Just one note, the right note, can say so much. These were deep exchanges, with his advice and guidance offered so generously with a profound sense of understanding, respect and motivation. Often with an added sprinkling of humour.

In one sense, when asked by Anssi to write a letter to Olly, it felt like writing some of these unanswered questions down musically. All the many things that I still have to ask, throwing them into the void and contemplating, “Where is he now?”  Through the piece I muse on his immaculate body of work and the music he loved, yet forge a whole-hearted, honest expression of where I am now and what I want to say. No doubt, in years to come, I will write another ‘Letter to Olly’.

In part the music is quiet and meditative- emerging from an inner place. An owl, with its ‘fluttering wings’ that then takes flight; graceful, intent and powerful. A central section sits low on the cello, fast moving, grating and fragmented. The opening material returns, now more melodic, singing and impassioned. Then descending, down, down, down- into the lowest realms.

- Charlotte Bray

Duration: 6 minutes