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David’s Song for Cello and String Quartet

Anatolijus Šenderovas (b. 1945)

Composer
Anatolijus Šenderovas (b. 1945)
Composition Year
2006
Artists
David Geringas [cello], RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet (Gregory Ellis, Keith Pascoe [violins], Simon Aspell [viola], Christopher Marwood [cello])

Programme Note Writer:
© Francis Humphrys

Anatolijus Šenderovas, like David Geringas, is one of Lithuania’s leading musicians. Their collaborations go back a long way as, when Geringas was a child, he studied with Šenderovas’ father. David’s Song was commissioned by the Kronberg Academy and dedicated to Geringas for his sixtieth birthday. The title simultaneously alludes to the Psalms of David and pays homage to the great cellist by seemingly presenting us with the opportunity to hear the entire spectrum of his technical and interpretational abililities in the one short piece. The one-movement work consists of five episodes, each of which has its own thematic elements.

The work opens with a ferocious cadenza for the soloist, introducing a con irae phrase that serves as a dramatic fulcrum throughout the work, this soon fades to pppp before drifting into the second episode alongside a transparent sul tasto shimmering in the quartet. The long third section returns to the mood of the opening before the violinist sings out David’s Song, then taken up and expounded by the soloist, with the accompaniment increasingly infected by a mysterious riccochet figure. The fourth section is a dance that gets hopelessly out of hand building up to a series of climaxes including improvised bravura vocal (shouts, shrieks and whistles) contributions from all five musicians. The section ends with a stunning display of virtuosity by the dedicatee before some calming pizzicatos by the quartet cellist leads into the gentle fifth section, where the Song returns high in the violin quickly replaced by the strange riccochet. This morphs into the coda with a dotted childlike melody accompanied by the words ‘Polly Josephine’, the name of David and Tatjana Geringas’ granddaughter, born just as the composer was working on the final part. Finding the rhythmic motif of little girl’s name already in present in music, she came to symbolise new life and new hope. The coda seems to drift to a close but after a long pause the soloist in two dramatic bars takes us from the end back to the beginning.

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David’s Song for Cello and String Quartet

Composer: Anatolijus Šenderovas (b. 1945)
Performance date: Sunday 5th July 2009
Venue: Bantry House Library, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland,

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Composer Anatolijus Šenderovas (b. 1945)
Work Title David’s Song for Cello and String Quartet
Composition Year 2006
Artist(s) David Geringas [cello], RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet (Gregory Ellis, Keith Pascoe [violins], Simon Aspell [viola], Christopher Marwood [cello])
Performance Date Sunday 5th July 2009
Performance Venue Bantry House Library, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland,
Event Marathon Finale
Duration 00:16:16
Recording Engineer Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category Small Mixed Ensemble
Instrumentation vc, 2vn, va, vc
Premiere Irish premiere
Programme Note Writer © Francis Humphrys

Anatolijus Šenderovas, like David Geringas, is one of Lithuania’s leading musicians. Their collaborations go back a long way as, when Geringas was a child, he studied with Šenderovas’ father. David’s Song was commissioned by the Kronberg Academy and dedicated to Geringas for his sixtieth birthday. The title simultaneously alludes to the Psalms of David and pays homage to the great cellist by seemingly presenting us with the opportunity to hear the entire spectrum of his technical and interpretational abililities in the one short piece. The one-movement work consists of five episodes, each of which has its own thematic elements.

The work opens with a ferocious cadenza for the soloist, introducing a con irae phrase that serves as a dramatic fulcrum throughout the work, this soon fades to pppp before drifting into the second episode alongside a transparent sul tasto shimmering in the quartet. The long third section returns to the mood of the opening before the violinist sings out David’s Song, then taken up and expounded by the soloist, with the accompaniment increasingly infected by a mysterious riccochet figure. The fourth section is a dance that gets hopelessly out of hand building up to a series of climaxes including improvised bravura vocal (shouts, shrieks and whistles) contributions from all five musicians. The section ends with a stunning display of virtuosity by the dedicatee before some calming pizzicatos by the quartet cellist leads into the gentle fifth section, where the Song returns high in the violin quickly replaced by the strange riccochet. This morphs into the coda with a dotted childlike melody accompanied by the words ‘Polly Josephine’, the name of David and Tatjana Geringas’ granddaughter, born just as the composer was working on the final part. Finding the rhythmic motif of little girl’s name already in present in music, she came to symbolise new life and new hope. The coda seems to drift to a close but after a long pause the soloist in two dramatic bars takes us from the end back to the beginning.