Sara Kirkland Snider ~ Composer of Music

Solo Instrument

The Reserved, the Reticent

for solo cello

World Premiere: April 30, 2004 by Hrant Parsamian, cello, New Music New Haven, Yale School of Music, New Haven, CT.

Recording by Hrant Parsamian.

Program Notes:

I wrote this piece in my first year of graduate study at Yale. I wanted to create a lyrical, ruminative, single-movement narrative for solo cello, an instrument I had studied as a child and often longed to play. The music was inspired by this passage from “As One Put Drunk Into the Packet-Boat,” a poem by John Ashbery.

“…The night sheen takes over. A moon of Cistercian pallor
Has climbed to the center of heaven, installed.
Finally involved with the business of darkness.
And a sigh heaves from all the small things on earth,
The books, the papers, the old garters and union-suit buttons
Kept in a white cardboard box somewhere, and all the lower
Versions of cities flattened under the equalizing night.
The summer demands and takes away too much,
But night, the reserved, the reticent, gives more than it takes.”


“…a work of impassioned, old-fashioned eloquence.”

–Justin Davidson, New York Magazine, November 14, 2010

“[Mariel] Roberts handled Sarah Kirkland Snider’s “The Reserved, The Reticent” with hardly a reservation. Her rhythmic swipes dug deep into the strings, and commanded the instrument’s full range all at once. The energy relinquished in volume but never intensity as the piece moved to a conversational middle section, where the melody was glided between pizzicato and bowed statements. The opening double-stop was resounded in the concluding moments and served as the basis for a dramatically executed final statement.”

The Glass, June 10, 2012

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