THE TRIUMPH OF LIGHTNESS, a Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (2011) Op. 70

Opus number: op. 70

Title: The Triumph of Lightness, a concerto for cello and chamber orchestra

  1. Fanfare
  2. Scherzo
  3. Elegy
  4. Finale

Instrumentation: Solo cello, 2-2-2-2, 2-2-0-0, 1 perc. hp., strings

Commissioned: Fay Chandler

Dedication: Eric Bartlett

Date written: October 2004

Length: ca. 35 minutes

Premiere performance: November 11, 2012, Boston Civic Symphony, Konstantin Dobroykov, conductor; Sam Ou, cellist. Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory

Subsequent performances:

Program notes: The Triumph of Lightness: a concerto for cello and orchestra was commissioned by Fay Chandler and dedicated to my friend the cellist Eric Bartlett. The work took place over a long period of time, 2004—2011. Much of the music for this four-movement concerto was drawn and developed from two other pieces of mine: Liturgical Suite (2004) for organ and Elegy (2005) for piano. The piano score was completed by the end of 2005 and happily, maestro Max Hobart of the Boston Civic Symphony motivated me to orchestrate the work in 2011.

Each of the movements is based on the same melodic and harmonic material and has more of a formal similarity to the four-movement classical symphony rather than the more common three-movement classical concerto. The movements are: dramatic overture—scherzo and trio—elegiac slow movement—and a fast rondo finale. The climatic point of the last movement presents a return of the slow movement melody played in a very high register by the solo cello, all written in harmonics.

The character of the music attempts to express a lightness of being that triumphs over the dark times that life presents us. The solo cello part is extremely virtuosic and is played brilliantly by my good friend Sam Ou.