Sonata for a Felled Tree is so named to prompt a renewed contemplation of the violin not only as an intricate work of human craftmanship, but also the remnant of numerous living organisms, of which every cell, as well as the experiences that shaped them during their lifetimes, plays a vital part in the sound escaping the violin and entering our ears. In this sense, the ebony, rosewood, maple, spruce, poplar, boxwood, and willow trees that constitute modern violins are as much musical performers as violinists themselves.
Much of my inspiration for the peice draws from the book The Hidden Life of Trees by forester Peter Wohlleben (for example, the intriguing fact that tree roots generate a frequency of 220 Hz, the same pitch as the lowest A on the violin).
Much like Wohlleben’s book, I wanted to deepen the audience’s understanding and appreciation for the the expansiveness of time, complexity of species interaction, and diversity of natural phenomena that all contribute to a violin’s sonic properties by creating a work of music that allows listeners to experience life from the persepective of a tree.
The Quartet for Piano, Clarinet, Violin, and Cello is inspired by the imagery of two conflicting ideas vying for the same brain space. The first theme, characterized by simplicity and tranquility, alternates regularly with a second, marked by intensity and caprice. As the piece progresses, these distinctive qualities become increasingly defined, culminating in two antithetical sound worlds.
Red Note Ensemble
Originally from the mountains of Utah, US, Ellie Cherry graduated from Cornell University magna cum laude BA in Music, studying with Professors Roberto Sierra and Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri. She is currently fulfilling an MMus of Composition at RCS, studying with Professor Emily Doolittle. The natural scenery and experiences definitive of her upbringing remain an important influence in her music composition today, which frequently focuses on environmental themes. In terms of style, Cherry’s music incorporates elements of spectral music, field recording, and acoustic extended technique. Her music has been commissioned by performers and directors in multiple countries, including the US, UK, and South Korea,. In 2019 she was a recipient of the CCA grant for her composition and production of Queen of Carthage, an opera-oratorio based on the life and death of the ancient African queen Dido, told (for the first time) from the perspective of a woman.