Small Ensemble Cello,Piano - Level 3 - Digital Download
Composed by James Siddons. 20th Century,Christmas,Sacred. Score and parts. 30 pages. James Siddons Music and Writings #6570925. Published by James Siddons Music and Writings (A0.972668).
This publication includes everything needed for performance --- full scores for two works, all violoncello parts, Performance Notes, and Program Notes.
The two pieces in this composition are:
I. Journey to the Epiphany
This music draws its inspiration from the desert scene evoked in the story of the three kings of the East (Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 2). The ostinato in the cello represents the long journey of the Magi and is adapted from Chopin’s Waltz in A Minor, Op. 34, No. 2. Reverberating tremolos in the cello express the brilliance of the Christmas Star. The winds that blow across the deserts of the Middle East and the steppes of central Asia are evoked by the open strings of the cello, played to suggest the sound of the Aeolian harp, the only instrument whose sound is produced by the wind passing through it, without human manipulation. Thus, the Aeolian harp, a simple frame with several strings stretched across it lengthwise, in contrast to the bowed strings of the cello and the hammered strings of the piano, is the oldest "piano" of all. The thematic melody is drawn from John Henry Hopkins’ 'Three Kings of Orient' tune (1857).
II. Rhapsody on "In the Bleak Midwinter"
This work is scored for several combinations of piano and cello: piano solo, one cello and piano, and two cellos and piano. The music expresses the thoughts of Christina Rossetti’s poem "In the Bleak Midwinter" (1872), especially those of Stanza 1:
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow.
In the music, open harmony is heard in the piano, suggesting the effect of "hard as iron" and "like a stone." The flowing cello part, or two parts, express "Snow had fallen, snow on snow," as well as a phrase in the third verse of the poem:
But his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshiped the belovéd with a kiss.
In the piano part, we hear the melody most associated with Rossetti’s poem, Gustav Holst’s Cranham tune (1906).
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