Lines for Solo Cello
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR762     Release Date: 1997-01-01
Scott Kluksdahl, cello

There is always a special drama when we hear a solo instrumentalist: one person, who alone carries the responsibility to project the composer’s intention, to fill up the empty space of the hall with sound so compelling that we listeners forget the incredible risk he is taking. Chamber music, no matter how rich in nuance, is an act of collaboration, and that collaboration creates a sort of built-in safety net, in that one player can cue and reorient another if something goes wrong. Orchestra playing involves a sort of submersion of the individual player in the collective. But in the solo repertoire, there is no net, there is no intermediary; the performer faces the listener in the starkest, most intimate musical relationship of all.

The keyboard literature of the past three centuries is what most associate first with solo repertoire. The piano in particular has been a great boon to composers over the past two centuries, allowing them to mimic the effect of a full orchestra through its enormous range of colors; the solo percussion literature has come to fulfill a related role in this century, matching the age’s fascination with new and exotic timbres. The literature for solo winds and brass is a little more problematic. This era has seen an explosion in its literature, but it is almost impossible to base an entire program on just the sound of a monophonic instrument (which plays only one note at a time). Despite the advances in extended techniques that allow players to create “multiphonics” (i.e., two notes played at once), real polyphony is almost impossible to create, even as an illusion.

And then there are the strings. Here we move to a very special realm that encompasses both expansiveness and intimacy. The string instruments have enormous range, greater than that of any other instrument except the piano. From one portion of their range to another (known as registers), their timbral character changes markedly. They can accommodate double- stops (two notes at once), which allow for chordal textures and the creation of genuine polyphony. The cello adds another special characteristic to this mix: it is almost human in scale, like a being whose voice ranges from deep bass tones to beautifully piercing high notes, speaking with a voice that seems to blend and transcend gender, to be a model of humane utterance. Through it, one feels as though one enters into the soul of the speaker, the most intimate regions of the composer’s psyche where the delicate and the passionate exist in a dynamically balanced tension.


This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available for order from New World Records as an on-demand CD (CD-R). It can also be downloaded in MP3/320, FLAC and/or WAV format(s).

Scott Kluksdahl

Lines for Solo Cello

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD $15.99

Track Listing

Cadenzas and Variations III
Richard Wernick
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Spring Song
Augusta Read Thomas
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Krosnick Soli
Ralph Shapey
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Lament
Richard Brodhead
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Fantasia
Gunther Schuller
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Parisonatina Al'Dodecafonia: I. -
Donald Martino
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Parisonatina Al'Dodecafonia: II. -
Donald Martino
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Parisonatina Al'Dodecafonia: III. -
Donald Martino
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Parisonatina Al'Dodecafonia: IV. -
Donald Martino
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