Sphinx for violoncello (2017-18, 10’)

First performance: Toets des Tijds, Het Veem, Amsterdam, Netherlands, April 22nd 2018, by Katharina Gross

This work for violoncello solo is named after the sphinx, a mythical figure with the head of a human, the body of a lion, sometimes depicted with the wings of a bird. In Greek mythology the sphinx is a woman; she mercilessly kills and eats those who fail to properly answer her riddles. In Egyptian mythology the sphinx is a man, impressively strong yet benevolent. The earliest known sphinx being close to three milennia old, this truly miraculous, powerful and enigmatic creature traces back deep into the history of mankind.
In Sphinx for violoncello, an ancient musical story is told, hewn in stone, rested in sand - a story of perseverence, abandonment, struggle and occasional calm. Two Bartók pizzicati on the lowest cello string encapsulate some nine minutes of intense cello playing.
Sphinx was written for Katharina Gross.

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