Dark Radiance

for solo violoncello

Emma-Ruth Richards

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for solo violoncello

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Composer Emma-Ruth Richards
Year of Composition 2016
Duration ca.6'

Student Difficulty adv
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-err1dr1


In much of my writing I am constantly drawn to playing with the contrast between light and dark and Dark Radiance is a continuation of these attempts.

Historically, light, rather than darkness, has been attributed to the trumpet, with angels having bird-like wings on their back, halos, trumpets and various other forms of glowing light. In Greek philosophical writings light is regarded as a metaphor for Truth and, in the Renaissance era, Fire and Light correlate to vision. These attractive comparisons are partly why I am drawn to the sonority of the clarino register of the trumpet and often try to emulate it in my writing for other instruments.

In this piece for solo cello I have drawn on the trumpet’s associations with light as a creative tool in my writing to explore the full register of the instrument; at times this ‘light’ is muted and almost intangible, whilst other passages, in the highest register, create piercing and powerfully penetrating ‘shards’ of radiance. The fantastical narrative of Dark Radiance is embodied by a journey between these abstracted forms of light and requires the cellist to play with varying degrees of bow pressure throughout; textured yet ethereal, dark yet radiant, organic yet artificial, evocative yet impenetrable.

This work is featured on the Navona Records release ‘MOTO QUARTO’ – available here.