by Sean Friar
Though I have worked with cellist, xxxx , many times over the past several years, this is the first piece I have written explicitly for him. One of his greatest qualities as a performer is that he is just as comfortable playing traditional Classical music as he is playing contemporary music, and his range of technical and expressive ability was something I wanted to highlight in this piece. The explosive first movement has the cello “controlling” the wind ensemble, sometimes turning it on and off, sometimes leading it like a marionette. The cello eventually winds up the ensemble so much that it frees itself from the cello and takes on a life of its own. In the quiet and ethereal second movement, the woodwind instruments form a faint halo around a fragile – and extremely high – cello melody. Most of the woodwind players are asked to play “flutes” made of PVC pipe in this movement, each one tuned to a different note. The final movement begins in fits and starts, flickering back and forth between high-energy gestures and more relaxed, almost Romantic ones. As the movement progresses, these two different musical atmospheres increasingly influence one another, pushing each other in unexpected directions.