Splinters for Solo Cello
Splinters by Derek Tywoniuk
for solo cello
Commissioned and premiered by Charles Tyler
Duration: ca. 6 minutes
In writing this work, I was inspired by a Shona proverb, “The axe forgets; the tree remembers,” particularly in regard to the differing relationships composers and performers might form to the same musical material. Jack van Geem, my former teacher, occasionally made the case that performers become much more intimate with the details of a score than a composer would. I have not always agreed with that opinion, but I do find it provocative. In the case of particularly virtuosic works, it may bear some truth indeed. In the composer/performer dynamic, the one who bears the axe (the composer) commits a relatively swift act, although I do acknowledge the long and arduous creative process. The performer, on the other hand, must not only grapple with the consequences (learning and interpreting the score), but be the physical vehicle through which the axe’s motions are transmitted in the form of a performance.