three miniatures for cello octet

Richard Birchall

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three miniatures for cello octet

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Composer Richard Birchall

Year of Composition



ca. 7'

Categories (all composers) , ,
Catalogue ID ce-rb3m1


‘Mirrors’, commissioned by the Park Lane Group and written for Cellophony during 2010, is a set of three short studies in musical reflections. Visually this is evident in the interaction between each player and his or her opposite number – but the symmetrical bug infects the music itself, both within individual melodic ideas and in the structure of each piece as a whole. These general concepts feature most prevalently in the first piece, the original ‘Mirrors’, where there is an almost constant correspondence across the group and the two minutes of music follow a shape akin to the melodic swelling and closing at the outset; the second is based entirely around a single four-note oscillating motif (demonstrated initially in glissando pizzicato) and explores its larger-scale implications through a series of episodes; the third, taking the form of a demented tarantella, employs a variety of symmetrical rhythmic and melodic patterns, and briefly revisits the very opening of the whole work before tumbling to its conclusion. Mirrors I was performed at the Northern Chords Festival at The Sage, Gateshead in March 2010; the full work received its premiere at London’s Purcell Room in January 2011.