The slow movement from Chopin’s Cello Sonata is one of my favorites. This is a live recording of me with Joseph Hauer from a concert at Lawrence University.
Claude Debussy wrote his Sonata for Cello and Piano in the summer of 1915 while staying at a villa on the coast at Pourville. His battle with cancer and the outbreak of World War I had left Debussy depressed and creatively stymied, but the change of scenery in the summer of 1915 revitalized his productivity. Debussy intended to write six instrumental sonatas but only completed three by the time of his death in 1918: the Cello Sonata, one for flute, viola and harp, and one for violin and piano. The Prologue relies on figuration characteristic of the French Baroque, and the Sérénade is dominated by Pierrot Lunaire, the puppet character from the commedia dell’arte who was musically immortalized by Arnold Schoenberg in 1912. This movement leads into a Finale that employs a range of instrumental effects.
Hanjale was written in 2013 and recorded by Bryan Hayslett in 2014. Hanjale, which means swagger in Arabic, derives its name from the colloquial saying "Awal-alrags hanjale" (the dance begins with a swagger). The saying can be interpreted to mean that larger actions begin with small moves or gestures. Depending on the context, this Arabic saying can allude to both positive and negative outcomes from simple beginnings. This work uses an ornate rhythmic cycle with seventeen beats as a frame work for its rhythmic structure and a four note motif as a basis for its melodic and harmonic structure. Originally composed for solo mandolin, the arrangement takes advantage of the cello's expressive range.
Commissioned by consortium, this is a live recording from the premiere tour
Note from the composer: In February of this increasingly complicated year I took my daughter to the optometrist. As she was waiting for the doctor for an antic, uncomfortable hour, the television blazed images of terrified students streaming out of a school that had just been shot up by a White Supremacist. My daughter is seven, just a decade shy of those students, and the immediacy kicked me hard—her delightful innocence against the cruelest possible reality aglow on the screen—and it, along with the subsequent valiant crusade of the school’s survivors against a seething impossible crew of monsters (actual monsters, as opposed to the more abstract monsters my daughter admits), has been difficult to shake. This piece is just a piece, a myopic reaction from a single source, but it goes out to them regardless. And to Bryan for asking, as well as the multiple cellists who helped with the consortium commission.
“The extremely large number of timbral devices that are used often alternate at super-rapid rates of succession and serve both expressive and technical goals. While it is hoped that the expressive goals will be immediately apparent to the listener, the technical goals are naturally a bit more obscure.” -Donald Martino
Parisonatina contains four movements arranged as two pairs. The introductory first movement leads to a second movement that develops these ideas further, particularly the interweaving of bowed, plucked, and col legno (tapping the cello with the wood of the bow) articulations into a single musical flow. The slow third movement gives way to the final movement, a vigorous and demanding cadenza.
Commissioned by Bryan Hayslett for his spring 2012 concert tour, 1x4 is a piece written by David Macbride for cello and three pre-recorded cello tracks. This recording was completed at The Hartt School in the spring of 2012.
Collaboration between composer Keith Kusterer and graphic artist Ben Aron, commissioned by Bryan Hayslett for his concert tour in the fall of 2014. Text from "A Portrait in Greys" by William Carlos Williams:
Will it never be possible
to separate you from your greyness?
Must you be always sinking backward
into your grey-brown landscapes—and
always in the distance, always against
a grey sky?
Must I be always
moving counter to you? Is there no
where we can be at peace together
and the motion of our drawing apart
be altogether taken up?
I see myself
standing upon your shoulders touching
a grey, broken sky--
but you, weighted down with me,
yet gripping my ankles,—move
where it is level and undisturbed by