Commissioned by the Royal Academy of Music to celebrate the bicentenary in 2022
First Performance 10 November 2020, Royal Academy of Music, London; Shannon Ross
Charlotte has a worldwide, exclusive publishing agreement with Birdsong
Born out of my cello concerto Falling in the Fire, this work for solo cello explores much of the same material. Motivation for the work comes from two principal sources: the destruction of the ancient city of Palmyra by the so-called Islamic State, coupled with the human horror and suffering being endured in the region, and a documentary about Tim Hetherington, the inspiring investigative photo-journalist, who was sadly killed in Libya in 2011 in a bomb explosion. Hetherington described the absurd allure of conflict zones; struck by the hidden pull he often felt when away from them to return, find the stories, and show the world what is happening in the darkest corners of our world. It is evident, certainly for Hetherington, that his experiences in conflict zones were hard to shake off on his return to life at home.
With both of these motivations, the piece snaps between adrenaline-filled conflict sections and ‘real’ life at home, where even there, the mind is in another place. The abnormality of war and what has been experienced remain, creating a numb, blurred, fragile experience that makes one question which life is ‘real’. The cello darkly sings out, defiantly.