David’s Song for Cello and String Quartet

Composer: Anatolijus Šenderovas (b. 1945 - d. 2019)
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Composer: Anatolijus Šenderovas (b. 1945 - d. 2019)

Performance date: 05/07/2009

Venue: Bantry Library

Composition Year: 2006

Duration: 00:16:16

Recording Engineer: Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Small Mixed Ensemble

Instrumentation Other: vc, 2vn, va, vc

Artists: David Geringas - [cello]
RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet (Gregory Ellis, Keith Pascoe [violins], Simon Aspell [viola], Christopher Marwood [cello]) - [quartet]

David’s Song for Cello and String Quartet

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.

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
before drifting into
the second episode alongside a transparent
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.