Soprano and 4 Violoncelli
Text: I Pastori by Gabriele d’Annunzio (Italian)
Duration: ca. 5.5 minutes
Publisher: C. F. Peters Corporation, Edition Peters 67621
This work was composed at request of the Finckel Cello Quartet (Michael Finckel, Christopher Finckel, David Finckel and Adam Grabois), for that ensemble and soprano Christine Schadeberg, for a concert presented by Giovanna de Blasiis, that took place on November 15, 1994 at the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, New York. Michael Finckel pointed me toward the wonderfully evocative and musically suggestive poem of d’Annunzio, and I am grateful to him for that as well as for acquainting me with the pleasures of writing for this darker, more richly-hued cousin of the string quartet.
The musical setting attempts to capture something of the wistful, bucolic quality of the poem, as well as its underlying passion and intensity. The instrumental writing uses virtually the entire range of the cello, and exploits a wide variety of its idiomatic and timbral possibilities (harmonics, pizzicati, chords, sul ponticello, sul tasto, and delicate, mandolin-like tremolandi). At the end, after the poem proper has ended, the voice wordlessly joins with the cellos, blending in and out of their texture for a quiet postlude.