A Due for Violin and Violoncello

Score title

A Due for Violin and Violoncello


Shulamit Ran

More about the composer



Program note

A due for violin and cello, a single-movement piece of approximately 15 minutes, is comprised of what may be seen as a series of interconnected "terms of engagement" between its two protagonists. Starting from a state of separation and great distance, expressed by the two instruments playing entirely different music and placed in registral positions that are wide apart, the two gradually come together, in a manner that is more akin to a series of progressive waves than a straight narrative. Spatial distribution (the "highs" and the "lows") is, in fact, an important determining agent of these various encounters, as is the degree to which the two appear to be in opposition or in collaboration. The analogy to a human relationship (though not one specific type of relationship) between two people that either are, or become, extremely close, fraught with all the complexity, contradictions, and degrees of emotion that an ever-evolving close relationship engenders, was certainly on my mind throughout the compositional process. At its peak, A due reaches an intense climax that is pained and anguished, followed by a more tender, cathartic reconciliation. And while sections of music recur at various times (in particular a series of closely voiced chords played in rhythmic unison by the violin and cello, and a gentle, dance-like stretch of music), the position in time of these recurrences alters their emotional significance and tone.

A due was commissioned by my dear friend violinist Laurie Smukler and composed during my stay at the American Academy in Rome in the fall of 2011. It is dedicated with love to Avi, my husband—The One.

—Shulamit Ran