for cello solo (2016)

World Premiere: Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, cello; October 15, 2017, New York, NY

Duration: 8:43

Program Notes: 
Vetur (Winter) is based on material from my folk style song Vetur öngum lánar lið (Winter aids no one). Both pieces were written for my dear friend, the fabulous cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, with the song containing text from poems by Sæunn’s great-grandfather Bjarni Jónsson.

The three main sections of Vetur: cadenza, recitative and come un’improvvisazione, explore expressive freedom and spontaneity. The linking of these three parts forms the heart of the piece. The seasons have, of course, provided fertile material for composers’ imaginations. As a respectful look at the past, I use the same pitch center (F) for Vetur as Vivaldi did for his Winter from the Four Seasons, and under Vivaldi’s influence, I created a recurring theme in the work, using quarter tones.

—Melia Watras