• Geoffrey Burgon
  • Six Studies (1980)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • Cello
  • 14 min

Programme Note

I was first approached by Julian Lloyd-Webber to write him a piece in 1976, when he heard my Requiem at the Three Choirs Festival in Hereford. He was playing the Elgar Concerto at the same concert and I believe it was our first encounter with each other’s work. At that time he asked me for a concerto, but as I am not drawn to that medium, I let the matter rest with a vague promise to ‘think about it’. So when Julian again requested a work, but this time for the instrument alone, I was immediately more attracted, since I have always loved the cello as a powerful and dramatic solo instrument.

I have called the piece Studies because it began as an exploration of various aspects of cello technique. But as the work progressed, I felt it did have an overall shape, completed by the reprise of the opening study, and it is therefore more of a suite than a series of unconnected pieces.

The movements are:

1. Prelude
A study in declamatory and cantabile playing

2. Perpetuum Mobile
A violent spiccato piece.

3. Aria
A melody with left-hand pizzicato accompaniment.

4. Scherzo
A study in pizzicato.

5. Nocturne
A muted legato piece that also makes use of harmonics and tapping effects.

6. Country Dance
An insistently rhythmic piece which begins quietly, develops into a wild dance, and then fades away and leads back to a reprise of the opening movement.