Nicholas Maw’s Narration was commissioned by the BBC for the 2001 RNCM Manchester International Cello Festival. Having previously written solo works for violin, double bass and flute with a strong sense of narrative, Maw on this occasion decided to take this as a concept and build the whole work around it. The 20-minute work is cast in a single movement divided into four clearly defined sections. A declamatory opening, a fast moving pizzicato section, an arioso of gradually increasing intensity, and a passage marked ‘Fast’, which with nervous energy encompasses previous thoughts from the ‘narrative’ and climaxes in a short recitative just before the finish.