Glass, Theofanidis, Bryant Solo Works for Violoncello
This manuscript is the written component of a final project, which also includes an audio recording of the following four modern solo cello works: Philip Glass’s Partita no. 1 for Solo Cello, Songs and Poems; Christopher Theofanidis’s Flow, My Tears; and Alexandra T Bryant’s two pieces 6267 Little Riverdam Road and Letters to Home. This manuscript examines how these four works demonstrate clear examples of the expansive skillset contemporary cellists need to navigate and interpret the diverse repertoire of the 21st century. It is written with both cellists and active listeners in mind. Cellists will find insights into performance-related issues, ranging from specific technical issues to recording techniques to discussions about broader interpretive decision-making processes. Listeners will gain a rich listening experience by engaging with musical characteristics, topical subject matter, and the broader context of each work. All four pieces were written for a solo string instrument—one specifically for cello, and three that were initially written for a different string instrument and transcribed for cello by their respective composers. The discussion also touches on these differences, examining compositional techniques specifically suited to the cello and techniques that may require nonconventional approaches to perform on the cello.