Scherzo Sentimentale (2014)

Instrumentation: cello, piano, percussion (vibraphone, 2 tom-toms, snare drum, triangle)

First performed by the Wet Ink Ensemble at the Dublin School, NH, during the Walden School Creative Musicians’ Retreat, on June 18, 2014.

Performers: Members of the Wet Ink Ensemble.
Mariel Roberts, cello
Laura Barger, piano
Ian Antonio, percussion



Program Notes

This piece depicts two sides of the cello and percussion: lyrical and percussive. It constantly shifts between these two moods, finally reaching an impassioned cello cadenza that seems to seal the victory of the “lyrical” mood, for now. However, the piece ends ominously with the ghost of the percussive mood lingering on amid the low constant thumping of the piano.

I liked the bipolar nature of the piece and thought it suitable to be put in the middle of my multi-movement senior thesis composition, In Pursuit of Feeling. There, the percussion part is expanded as we have two players instead of one, and the shifting moods integrate seamlessly into the narrative of an ensemble trying to pacify the rebellion started by members of the string quartet (in this case, the cello). Still, I think that Scherzo Sentimentale is really more suited to be a standalone piece for three people; it’s intimate, not orchestral, and the percussionist’s constant switching between vibraphone and drums highlights her constant quest to find the balance between lyricism and percussive madness. The recording linked to on this page is the original performance by the Wet Ink ensemble.