Cello and Electronics – 10 minutes
Orison is an old-fashioned word for prayer. Before writing this piece, I watched a Youtube of Rostropovich playing the complete Bach Cello Suites in a huge cathedral space. I was particularly taken by the Sarabandes. He played them quite slowly and took all the repeats, which made them very long. The slow tempi and the Cathedral’s intense natural reverb directed my ears toward the cello sound itself rather than particular notes or phrases. In those moments it seemed the music’s essence was not Bach’s beautiful writing, but the long tones and rich double stops reverberating through the cavernous, stone space. The impulse for Orison came directly from that listening experience. While ostensibly a solo, Orison’s simple material, bathed in reverb and long, gradually decaying echoes, becomes a kind of duet with the sound itself. Each tone is a question, calling out to a vast, unknowable space, and with every reverberation the cellist must listen carefully, searching for an answer before moving on to the next thought. Orison was made possible by the generous support of the Metropolis Ensemble, New Music USA, Rodney McDaniel, Carol Whitcomb, Hermine Drezner & Jan Winkler.
Check out this live recording by Ashley Bathgate from the World Premiere at (le) Poisson Rouge:
premiered 1.12.16 at (le) Poisson Rouge, New York, NY by Ashley Bathgate