bet merkorios (2012)

For solo violoncello

Written for: Tom Bayman

Programme Note:

bet merkorios is an ancient rock-hewn church, part of eleven such churches at the Lalibela World Heritage site in Ethiopia. There is archaeological evidence to suggest that at some point in the distant past the chapel was reappropriated for use as a prison.

The piece is constructed from juxtaposed blocks of music, each defined by certain pattern-based materials (or ‘comportment’ to use terminology from my sketches). The panels were composed for each of the ‘cellist’s hands independently and then, retrospectively combined – although perhaps collided is a better word to use here. Essentially, this is a process of distortion – the ‘purity’ of each panel being corrupted (to greater or lesser extents) by that with which it is collided and/or superimposed.

A cyclic procession of such materials is presented which itself breaks down. In a sense, the larger-scale architecture of the piece also concerns issues of disruption, although perhaps disorientation isa better way to describe the experience.

The piece was written for the ‘cellist Tom Bayman in friendship and gratitude. Tom gave the first performance of bet merkorios on 23rd July 2012 in the Nexus Arts Café in Manchester.


Score Excerpt:

Approximately 18 minutes