Cello Concerto No 2

Colin Matthews (1946)

Cello Concerto No 2 1996

2.2.Ebcl.1.bcl.2.cbsn - 4231 - timp - perc(3): 2 BD/4 tom-t/bongos/tam-t/susp.cym/siz.cym/tgl/tamb/lujon/log drum/2 c.bells/ratchet/sleigh bells/sandpaper block/guiro/vib/glsp - harp - strings (ideally 14.12.10.10.8)
Duration 
27
Solist 
Genre 
Commissioner 
Publisher 

My Second Cello Concerto was commissioned shortly after the first performance of my orchestral piece Memorial, which Rostropovich conducted in the LSO’s ‘Festival of Britten’ in February 1993. It was composed between September 1994 and April 1996. It’s a very contrasting piece to my first concerto, in which the cello is often almost submerged under luxurious orchestral textures. I’ve tried to write something much sparer and at the same time more lyrical. Writing for Rostropovich is a huge challenge - for me the major difficulty was in avoiding the sort of virtuosic writing that can end up as mere fireworks without any substance. Consequently in the third movement, a dynamic scherzo, it’s the orchestra that really goes to town, while the cello plays (though not entirely unvirtuosically!) only in the trio sections. There are five movements, which play without a break: the whole work lasts a little under half an hour. The movements have the following titles (and character): Declamation – slow, sustained and intense; Song without text – sustained and rhetorical; Scherzo – fast and dark; Song without text – soft and sustained, with a background of string harmonics; Resolution – a résumé of the work, both slow and fast, ending almost as it began.

Colin Matthews

Performances 
17.9.96 Barbican Hall, London: Mstislav Rostropovich/London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis
28.8.98 Tokyo, Japan: Takeshi Tsutsumi/Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra/Tatsunori Numajiri
23.4.02 BBC Maida Vale, London: Anssi Karttunen/BBC Symphony Orchestra/Rumon Gamba
29.6.03 Avanti Summer Sounds Festival, Finland: Anssi Karttunen/Avanti Chamber Orchestra/Diego Masson
19/21.2.04 Symphony Hall, Birmingham: Ulrich Heinen/City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Oliver Knussen
2
Flute
2
Oboe
3
Clarinet
2nd Eb clarinet, 3rd bass clarinet
3
Bassoon
3rd contrabassoon
4
Horn
2
Trumpet
3
Trombone
1
Tuba
1
Timpani
3
Percussion
2 bass drums, 4 tom-toms, bongos, tam-tam, suspended cymbal, sizzle cymbal, triangle, tambourine, lujon, log drum, 2 cowbells, ratchet, sleigh bells, sandpaper block, guiro, vibraphone, glockenspiel
14
Violin
12
Violin II
10
Viola
10
Cello
8
Double bass
1
Harp
(Esc)