• Ian Venables
  • Elegy for Cello and Piano, Op. 2 (1981)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • pfvc
  • 7 min

Programme Note

The Elegy for ‘Cello and Piano Op. 2 was the first piece written by the composer for solo instrument and piano. Written in 1980 for the ‘cellist Anthony Gammage, it is as an elegy for an unreturned love, and has all the melodic and harmonic fingerprints of Venables’s mature style: combining tender lyricism with passionate intensity. Strong uncompromising chords open the work, above which an angular melody is intoned, presaging the work’s main thematic material. The ‘cello’s plangent outpouring, accompanied by sorrow-laden chords, leads to a central chorale – described by one reviewer as "…a passage of overwhelming beauty.” After a restatement of the earlier section, a short cadenza for the ‘cello ushers in the work’s main climax, where both instruments present the earlier piano introduction, before plummeting towards its final chord: the prevailing b minor tonality assailed by the ‘cello’s A-sharp as it acts out an aural metaphor on the pain of unrequited love.