Year Authored (or revised): 


Instrumentation : 

cello solo, Fl (picc), Ob (eng Hn), Cl (Bass Cl), Bsn, Hn, C Tpt, Tbn, Perc, Harp, 2 Vln, Vla, Vcl, Bass

Duration (min): 



I. Con moto
II. Shadowy
III. Adagio molto
IV. Animato


Albany by Sequitur on their Concertos II CD; soloist Greg Hesselink

Thin Ice, for cello and fourteen players, was written for Greg Hesselink and Sequitur during the Fall of 2004 and the Spring of 2006 and is dedicated to them. My heartfelt thanks go to Harold Meltzer and Sarah Laimon for their unflagging support, and, especially, to Greg Hesselink, Paul Hostetter, and the musicians of Sequitur for their artistry and commitment.

Thin Ice divides into four movements of unequal length (played attacca (without pause)) lasting about twenty two minutes. Movements one, two and three group together as a unit. They are, each in their different ways, unsettled and restless. The fourth and most extensive movement, beginning after a brief breathing space, serves to balance the preceding movements and to ultimately provide a sense of finality and repose.

The first movement is substantial and wide-ranging. At the beginning, the cello and the strings play as if in two different meters and tempi. The 3/8 polyrhythm of the opening string pizzicati will return -- both at the end of the movement and as the meter of the second movement scherzo.

The short second movement begins with a slow, lyrical introduction providing an upbeat to the main body of the movement. Mercurial and capricious, it goes by in a flash.

Movement three picks up the slow lyrical strand of the second movement’s introduction as the solo cello unfolds a high melody consisting mostly of double stops over slow moving, widely spaced harmonies sustained by the strings. The cello ends the movement with a short (and clearly incomplete) cadenza.

The fourth movement begins with new energy. An extensive ensemble passage leads to a resumption of the cello cadenza which, picking up the previously unfinished material, now completes itself. This leads into further dialogues between cello and ensemble which reference the music of the preceding three movements, as well as introduce music not previously heard. After a substantial tutti climax and dissolution, explicit memories of the music which opened the first movement occur. At the end, for the first time, an equivocal sense of closure is achieved.


Listening Sample: 

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