Ponderosa

 

Ponderosa grows out of the gnarled roots of a technical idea heard at the opening: the cellist uses all four strings to play rolled chords consisting of close intervals (seconds). A lumbering rhythm initiates a journey up the registers of the instrument, where greater lightness and brightness are found. The opening idea reappears as a more lyrical four-string arpeggiation (with a tip of the hat to Bach’s pioneering cello writing in his solo suites). As the melodic register rises, technique and expressive character varies widely, but never entirely loses connection to the “roots” established at the beginning, and requires abrupt (and difficult) leaps of register to maintain a sense of ongoing development of the entire range of the instrument.