Ephemeral Objects (2020)
for Cello and Piano
Instrumentation: cello and piano
I. Sustained, mysterious; Lively
II. Placid, lyrical
III. Playful and dramatic
IV. Freely, folk-like, like a medieval fiddle
V. Mysterious, other-worldly
Duration: 18 minutes
Ephemeral Objects, a duo for cello and piano, contains seven contrasting movements. Each movement can stand on its own, or several can be grouped together to form a smaller set, or the entire set can be performed to form a larger work. Each brief movement represents a different aspect of my musical language. The first movement pairs timeless, suspended music with more rhythmically aggressive music. The second movement is slow and lyrical, with long song-like lines in the cello. The third movement is a wild, rhythmic scherzo of sorts. The fourth movement is influenced by French-Canadian folk song. The fifth movement is more experimental in nature and makes use of the timbral possibilities of the instruments (including playing inside the piano). The sixth movement is based on Gregorian chant, and the last movement is a pulse-oriented, bravura-style finale to the work.
Ephemeral Objects was written for cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han, who serve as artistic directors of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. It was commissioned by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series in Vermont, where David Finckel and Wu Han have been long-time performers on the series, in honor of its 100th anniversary season, and was premiered by the duo there on February 28, 2020.
-- Pierre Jalbert
© 2020 Pierre Jalbert, Ephemeral Objects