Okay- our webstats here at Vftp show a sudden flurry of hits from a reader or readers obsessed with Pierre Boulez’s Messagesquisse for Solo Cello and Six Cellos. Written at the request of Mstislav Rostropovich as a birthday present for the conductor Paul Sacher, it is built on a 6 note theme based on the letters of Sacher’s name Es (e flat) A C H (b natural) E R (re or d natural). It was the final “variation” of a set of 12 written by 12 different composers, including Dutilleux, Holiger, Lutoslawski and Berio with the theme by Britten (his final work).
I did my DMA lecture recital on this piece and have played it a few times- it’s very difficult, lots of fun and an interesting study in the possibilities of rotation technique. I’m the only cellist I know who does it without a conductor.
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