Cellopianian Flights

for cello and piano

premiered September 21, 2008

Tom Flaherty, cello, Genevieve Lee, piano
Bridges Hall of Music

Claremont, CA

(arrangement of Cellorimbian Flights for cello and marimba, which was premiered January 9, 2006
Roger Lebow, cello, David Johnson, marimba, Xtet -Monday Evening Concert series
Bing Theater, Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

"Easygoing was the premiere of Tom Flaherty's "Cellorimbian Flights," for cello (Roger Lebow) and marimba (David Johnson). Cello and marimba are not easily matched, and instead of joining in friendly interplay, they joined in friendly spotlight-sharing. When the cello sang, the marimba faded into the background. When the marimba clattered, the cello became faint. But the score — with its pleasant melodies, hints of tango and mariachi, and rhythmic liveliness — did much to please.“ [Xtet]
–  Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times
" — an exceptionally appealing duo for cello and marimba “ [Xtet]
– Alan Rich, L. A. Weekly

Tom Flaherty, cello; Genevieve Lee, piano

Cellopianian Flights is an arrangement of an earlier piece for cello and marimba, Cellorimbian Flights. This new version, for cello and piano, expands the sonic possibilities of the piano with a few "preparations" inside the instrument.

The piece is in three movements: "Tangoid," "Recollections," and "Marchuet," and might be heard as a song surrounded by dances.

"Tangoid" never uses the specific rhythms associated with the tango, but is infused with its sensual insinuations. Syncopations constantly challenge the steady pulse, playfully at first, with more determination as time passes. From sly, laid back beginnings the music moves forward in ever-increasing anxious tension, accelerating to a final explosive release.

"Recollections" reflects on regrets, reconciliations, and inevitability. Inward improvisatory solos interspersed with flashes of light ultimately lead to a searching melody in the cello, which gives way to the piano's reassuringly steady conclusion.

"Marchuet" combines aspects of the march, the minuet, and even a little mariachi in an increasingly giddy entanglement, bringing the piece to a rousing if slightly loopy close.

Cellorimbian Flights was written for cellist Roger Lebow, percussionist David Johnson, and Xtet, all bright lights in the Los Angeles musical landscape. It was a pleasure to have the piece premiered in the decades-long Monday Evening Concerts series.

This new version is dedicated to Roger and to the sparkling pianist Genevieve Lee, with whom I had the pleasure of performing the premiere.

download pdf score of Marimba version (Cellorimbian Flights)

scores formatted for performance available from composer