Dance, when you’re broken open.
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you’re perfectly free.
These lines by the 13th century Persian poet, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, inspired DANCE, a cello concerto written in 2019 by the English composer, Anna Clyne (b. 1980).
The Concerto is set in five movements, each of which corresponds to a line in the poem. In the opening movement, a haunting lament in the solo cello rises above a serene and glassy ostinato. The second movement is ferocious and angular. The dreamy and intimate third movement appears to pay homage to a compositional technique used during the Baroque period in which variations emerge over a repeating bass line. In the fourth movement, dense canonic layers of sound accumulate as the solo cello’s lines are echoed by the orchestra. It’s a “looping” contrapuntal device which is used frequently in electronic music. The final movement revisits motifs heard earlier in the Concerto. The Concerto closes with a soaring and mournful melody that reflects the Jewish heritage of Clyne’s father, to whom the work is dedicated.
Anna Clyne, a cellist in her own right, wrote DANCE for the Israeli-American cellist Inbal Segev. The recording below features Segev with conductor Marin Alsop and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
I. when you’re broken open
II. if you’ve torn the bandage off
III. in the middle of the fighting
IV. in your blood
V. when you’re perfectly free
- Clyne: DANCE, Inbal Segev, Marin Alsop, London Philharmonic Orchestra Amazon
Featured Image: cellist Inbal Segev, photograph by Grant Legan