Cello Concerto

Errollyn Wallen (1958)

Cello Concerto 2007

cello and string orchestra

This is my second commission for Orchestra of the Swan and I am delighted that it is written for musicians whose musicality and outlook I admire so much.

My Cello Concerto is inspired by the unique performance characteristics of Matthew Sharp for whom I have enjoyed writing for many times before — when he performed in several shows with the gogmagogs and when he commissioned and premiered Dervish for cello and piano. He and Dominic Harlan went on to record Dervish on my CD The Girl in My Alphabet in a memorable late night session. Matt also performed on my first album of songs, Meet Me at Harold Moores, alongside David Le Page, the leader of Orchestra of the Swan. It was with these experiences in mind that I began the Cello Concerto. One of the joys of being a composer is that each work is an adventure and can be a surprising journey to a new place. The Cello Concerto is a much more abstract work than Dervish, and is wholly about the notes themselves, rather than being influenced by anything extra-musical. I started from the point of view of the properties of the cello, relishing its solo sonorities and the textures created when it is placed within a larger group of strings. This new work draws on the virtuosic, rhythmic and lyrical possibilities of the cello in equal measure.

The Cello Concerto is in a single movement and is dedicated to Matt Sharp and Fiona O’Mahoney in celebration of their engagement.

Errollyn Wallen

26.1.08 Wiltshire Music Centre: Matthew Sharp/Orchestra of the Swan/David Curtis