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Suite for Cello

for cello

i. Prelude

ii. Moto Perpetuo

iii. Interlude

iv. Sarabande (i)

v. Capriccio

vi. Sarabande (ii)

vii. Lamento

viii. Postlude

Written for Guy Johnston and commissioned by Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival, my Cello Suite links directly to Hatfield House and its rich musical history, with a quotation from Orlando Gibbons’s The Lord Salisbury Pavane (written for Robert Cecil) embedded within the opening theme of its Prelude. Also looking to the past, the form of the work is a reinterpretation of the baroque dance suite after Bach, covering a range of contrasting moods and styles in each of its eight movements, but with much of the music reappearing again later, often in a transformed light. Composed during the height of lockdown in 2020, the suite captures something of the unease, uncertainty and even melancholy I felt at a time that had such a devastating impact on so many people’s lives. Yet there are also moments of hope and anticipation, prompted by the imminent arrival of my (now one-year old) son, who was born not long after the piece was completed. Ultimately the piece was, in no small part, inspired by the exquisite lyricism and remarkable range of expressive colours that Guy conjures so beautifully with his playing.

Recording available on Matthew Kaner: Chamber Works released by Delphian Records. Performed by Matthias Balzat.


31 January 2023 Ensemble X, Cornell University, Ithaca New York, USA

2 October 2021 Guy Johnston, Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival, UK

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