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Christopher Cerrone

The Pleasure of Being the Cause

version for cello and piano

(2021)
Duration6'
CommissionCommissioned by and dedicated to Inbal Segev as part of the 20 for 2020 Recording Project
PremiereThe premiere recording took place at Oktaven Audio, Mt Vernon, NY with Inbal Segev, cello and Timo Andres, piano
PublisherPSNY

Media

Program Note

The phrase “The Pleasure at Being The Cause” was coined by the German psychologist Karl Groos. It was his conclusion from a study on why children play. To Groos, it’s quite simple—as humans, we love to take pleasure in putting something into the universe and for it to have a predictable corresponding effect.

This phrase was in my mind when Inbal Segev asked me to write a piece reflecting upon the experience of living through a pandemic year, locked down in my apartment and mostly unable to see friends, family, and colleagues. Among all the terrible losses for so many people, I thought about a simple one: about how I missed stumbling through duets with my friends.

Groos’s idea of the pleasure of being the cause seemed to me to be one of the core joys of playing music, particularly duets: each moment is determined by one player relating to the other. And so I wrote a brief piece for cello and and piano reflecting on this idea. It opens with the simple sound of freely bouncing the bow on the string. This bouncing sound (the cause) is then imitated by the piano (the effect). As the piece proceeds the roles of cause and effect change from moment to moment, but each player’s role throughout is tightly bound to this simple idea.

– Christopher Cerrone

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