Suite for cello solo
The Cello Suite has been, rather typically for Penderecki, a work in progress. It evolved from the Divertimento, of which the original movements Serenade, Scherzo and Notturno were incorporated into the new cycle, together with the later Sarabande (2001), Tempo di valse (2004), Aria (2006) and Allegro con bravura (2010). The newest part, Preludio, composed in April 2013, was the compulsory piece of the International Paulo Cello Competition in Helsinki, which had been initiated in 1991 by Finnish cellist Arto Noras, the first performer of the Allegro, who most likely had an important impact on the final shape of Penderecki’s cycle.
The whole is the quintessence of the composer’s style – modern, with universalist ambitions. On one hand, it is steeped in the spirit of the Classicist divertimento, the legacy of its original title and form. On the other, however, since the composition of the Sarabande, dedicated “J.S. Bach in memoriam”, the Baroque tradition, perfected in the cello-suite genre by the Leipzig cantor, has been more strongly present in the composer’s new works. The dedication to Bach may have been one reason for changing the title of the cycle – it gave the composition more substance and generic weight.
All the same, nostalgia and sadness of the Nocturne, the Sarabande and the Aria are only one expressive aspect of this piece, balanced by the charm of the Serenade and the Valse and by the crazy pace of the Scherzo. All of this is presented using the full range of spectacular, “classical” cello articulations.