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Richard Whalley

Richard Whalley Tachophobia

a sonata for solo cello

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Tachophobia - cello
Tachophobia - cello (download)

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This cello sonata takes two very different sources for its inspiration: J.S. Bach and Tarantino’s film Deathproof (2007). Bach speaks for himself: how can one not think of him when writing for cello? Where Tarantino’s orgy of fast cars, beautiful women, a twisted predatory male and adrenalin fits in perhaps takes more explanation. In writing this piece two qualities of Tarantino’s film impressed me: its gutsy yet intimate cinematography (there are no special effects; all stunts are real) and its simple black-and-white symmetrical structure, causing the second half of the film to be viewed in a particular way having been set up by the first half.

The sound of the cello is remarkable for its expressive range. From darkly sinister to highly-strung intensity to the sweetest lyricism, perhaps no instrument lends itself better to a musical representation of the qualities I was impressed by in Deathproof. The four movement structure – inspired by the symmetry of the film – is designed to exploit contrast. Thus the four movements are organised: lyrical/dark – physical/light – lyrical/light – physical/dark. The climactic final movement is in fact an attempt to depict the intense speed, physical excitement, and inescapable fear of a car chase.

This sonata was composed for the cellist Oliver Coates during the spring and summer of 2008.

Additional Information

ISMN 9790570682317
Composer Richard Whalley
Year of Composition 2008
Instrumentation Violoncello
Duration 20'
Student Difficulty Advanced

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