Cherry Blossom Special

for cello quartet

Cherry Blossom Special was commissioned by Rick Mooney and the National Cello Institute. Rick suggested that I might find some inspiration in Japanese Folk songs.

Many such songs are known to young string players, and of course many fine string teachers and their teachers have come from Japan. But Rick insisted that I should not consider the piece an homage to anyone or anything in particular, rather that I should find some folk songs that I liked and write "one of those things you love to do; with all those harmonics and crazy juxtapositions."

What emerged was a fantasy on Sakura, Sakura (Cherry Blossoms.) Although this ancient melody is always present, the piece represents many things shared between our cultures. Western things loved in Japan incude European folk songs (many of which are used in learning string instruments), Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and baseball. For good measure an Irish folk tune, representing my own cultural heritage, is woven into (or perhaps hammered onto) the texture.

score excerpt

Cherry Blossom Special sheet music is available from NCI Publications

See other cello ensembles here.