for Cello Quartet and Cello Orchestra

  • Genre
    Solo Instrument with Orchestra
  • Commissioned by/written for
    3rd American Cello Congress
  • Year completed
  • Year revised
  • Timing
  • Catalog number
No items found.
  • copies sold
  • 3
    known performances
  • General notes
    Winner of the Jill Sackler Composition Contest
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In early 1986, the 3rd American Cello Congress, announced the Jill Sackler Cello Ensemble Competition. The prize included $1000 plus a performance at the Congress to be held later that summer. I momentarily considered writing something to enter, but then decided against it. When my wife Carole heard about my decision, she twisted my arm to change my mind, and so I wrote a three-movement work for solo cello quartet accompanied by an orchestra of cellos, and submitted it with no expectation of winning anything. A few weeks later, I received an envelope from the Congress, and opened it fully expecting to read that my entry had been received, that there were many wonderful entries, and the award had gone to so-and-so. Well, there had indeed been 30 entries from composers in several countries, but to my amazement, Prisms had been selected as the winning work. The work is in three movement, the first a moderato movement containing many special effects, including Bartok pizzicato, the "seagull effect" and others. The second movement is vigorous fast movement with a good bit of drama, and incorporates the use of tone clusters. The closing movement is an adagio that is largely quiet in mood, although it builds up to a climax with the cello orchestra split into eight parts, then winding down to a final soft statement by the solo quartet during which the players drop out successively so that one of the players ends the work on a single sustained note.

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