DUO for Two Celli
About This Composition
DUO for Two Celli, which I completed in 2017, was conceived from an unaccompanied cello solo that I wrote in another chamber work. The legato opening is made up of 3- and 4-part harmonies between the two celli instead of broken chords from the solo version. These double stops that each cello sustains are very challenging, as are many other techniques I employed. In DUO I utilized almost every acoustic effect from the celli that I could: pizzicato, tremolo, harmonics, col legno, long glissandi, left hand pizzicato and ponticello. Writing in a highly virtuosic fashion always runs the risk of appearing that the various effects are themselves the focus, drawing undue attention to the effects for their own sake. Being aware of this I was especially careful to have every effect, whether it be a harmonic, ponticello or a left hand pizzicato, derive from thematic material to serve the greater musical goal of the work. Having said that I wasn’t shy about pushing the technical demands of the cello to the extreme. In addition to the various effects used, the upper register of the cello was also exploited, both for expressive long lines and perpetuo mobile sections even at breakneck speeds. This is a work for cellists at the top of their game, cellists capable of sustaining extended, soaring lyrical lines and flying around the cello in near demonic fashion, executing the full playbook of effects that a cello can envision.