Distance Over Speed
for solo cello(2016)
|Commission||Commissioned by the Talea Ensemble and Chris Gross as part of Cello Solos Today|
|Premiere||February 5, 2016; Greenwich House Music School, New York; Boubacar Diallo, cello|
“Distance over speed”: a metaphor for taking the long view? the tortoise over the hare? or perhaps just the basic formula to calculate time (t= d/s)? The title playfully alludes to these and other interpretations, and quite literally takes the equation semi-seriously. Distances in music being intervals, and speeds measured in the time it takes to slide or run across them, there is room to create a rhetoric of travel across the cello’s strings. Thus while a distance of nine steps (a major sixth) might be played in the flash of a second, the relationship could be inverted in the very next instance: one step (a semitone), stretched out over a nine-second span. And within the constant switching of orders of magnitude, artifacts and shadow sonorities begin to emerge through the close proximities of related strings and reference pitches, especially in the time-stretched moments. Since these values are ultimately arbitrary, as is most decision-making in composition, there is plenty of room for rule-making leading to rule-breaking.
– Anthony Cheung