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Richard Birchall

Richard Birchall Sonata

for solo cello

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Sonata for solo cello - score
Sonata for solo cello - score (download)

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This piece was written in October and November 2018, around the time of the centenary of the end of World War I, and this is reflected in the musical material. The first movement uses two separate themes throughout, each with its own distinct tempo indication: the first, Alla Marcia, repeats a strict rhythmical 'drumroll' motif; the second, Mosso: tempo rubato, has a freer melodic theme featuring a pair of rising fifths and an arpeggiated motif, both derived from bugle-calls. These two strands begin independently and gradually interact over the course of the movement; as the music diminishes, the final phrase includes a reference to Britten's War Requiem. The second movement, an Intermezzo, is played entirely pizzicato, and harks back to much older music - Tudor dance, perhaps - though the harmonic language remains contemporary. The finale is a spirited Moto Perpetuo: a fast quaver motion persists throughout, but the time signature changes almost every bar, never allowing the rhythm to settle. It is a technically challenging movement which maintains its high energy right to the end.

The sonata was commissioned by the Philharmonia Orchestra, and premiered by Timothy Walden at De Montfort Hall, Leicester, on January 19th 2019.

Additional Information

Composer Richard Birchall
Year of Composition 2018
Instrumentation Violoncello
Duration ca. 15'
Student Difficulty -

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