Concerto for Two Cellos and Orchestra


I – Moderato; attacca
II – Slowly; attacca
III – Molto Allegro

Duration: 25 minutes

2 Celli soli, 2222 2200, Timp/Perc (1), Harp, Strings

Commissioned by Bristol University Music Society.
First Performance Harriet Cawood/Betsy Taylor, University of Bristol Chamber Orchestra/Jonathan James, 31 January 1996, Victoria Rooms, Bristol.

Selected for SPNM shortlist 1999/00.

Score available on request.

Listen to extracts of the Concerto for two cellos and orchestra performed live by Harriet Cawood & Betsy Taylor on cello and the University of Bristol Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jonathan James:

2nd movement:

3rd movement:

Programme Note

Cast in a single span of music, this work portrays the changing characters of two ‘cellos as their relationship develops over the three movements. In the extended opening cadenza, the first ‘cello asserts its passionate, lyrical character, which is then offset by the more capricious and pertinent nature of the second, who continually tries to win the first’s attention through its incisive rhythmical figures. In the more reflective second movement, a point of near reconciliation is reached as the first ‘cello tries to draw closer to the second. This attempt is, however, rebuffed, provoking the first to reassert itself by launching aggressively into the final movement. Here, the underlying animosity is only overcome in the closing few bars, where the two finally meet in emphatic unison.