for solo cello(2016)
|Commission||Commissioned by Talea Ensemble and Chris Gross for the Cello Solos Today project. Cello Solos Today is supported by New Music USA, through a generous contribution from Elizabeth and Justus Schlichting.|
|Premiere||February 5th, 2017; Greenwich House Music School, NYC; Alec Larsen, cello|
Cantus is inspired by the metrically free style of plainchant, in particular the music of Hildegard of Bingen. The score is proportionally notated, and gives no indications regarding rhythm or tempo. Instead, the player is invited to devise their own phrasings, timing, and articulations. In the beginning of the work, short melodic motives alternate with tremolos and long sustained tones, which eventually give way to florid melismatic passages. When played with reverberation, ecstatic melodies create harmonic resonances, while expansive sustained tones serve as refrains, recalling the reciting tones heard in sacred vocal chant. The work climaxes with a paraphrase of Hildegard’s Nunc Aperuit Nobis Clausa Porta (Today A Closed Portal Opened For Us), an antiphon to the Virgin Mary. This gives way to a primordial evocation, resounding in the form of a low open G.
– Mario Diaz de Leon