Roger Reynolds

(b. 1934)

mode 277/78

Complete Cello Works


mode 277/278  Roger REYNOLDS Complete Cello Works –  Alexis Decharmes, cello. Roger Reynolds, speaker.  Ensemble Court-circuit, Jean Deroyer, conductor, others. (2-CDs)

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Complete Cello Works

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Complete Cello Works

Alexis Decharmes, cello
Roger Reynolds, speaker*

Thoughts, Places, Dreams (2013) 24:00
for cello solo & chamber orchestra
Ensemble Court-circuit, Jean Deroyer, conductor


Colombi Daydream (2010) 7:48
for cello
“In the Dark” 1:02
reading of James Merrill*

Focus a beam, emptied of thinking, outward… (1989) 11:13
for cello

imagE/cello (2007) 4:47
for cello

imagE/cello (2007) 4:30
for cello

“It was because of evil that the Furies were born…” 2:22
reading of Aeschylus*

Process and Passion2:22
for violin, cello & computer processed sound
Nicolas Miribel, violin
Frédéric Voisin, electronics

“How can I find words…” 3:25 
reading of Aeschylus*

A Crimson Path  (2000-02) 26:45 
for cello & piano
Sébastien Vichard, piano

This first complete recording of Roger Reynolds’ cello works is being released to celebrate the composer’s 80th birthday. This special composer supervised 2-CD set contains many first recordings.

Some of the works are interspersed with Reynolds’ reading of texts which specifically relate to the compositions.

Focus a beam, emptied of thinking, outward… was inspired by the writings of  James Merrill. Says Reynolds: “My thought was to write a work that had the feel and dimensionality of a spiritual exercise: a very slow pulsation, breath-like, that would, in three larger stages, become gradually more animated, ending with a “lightening” of its somber beginning, a section that would by then be moving notably faster than the opening.”

Process and Passion was written for Descharmes and Mirabel. Here, computer-processed sounds, based upon recorded segments from the violin and cello materials, function to extend and elaborate the influence of various source images so that the computer cues act sometimes as remote shadowings that inflect, and at others as extra-human forces which the two live soloists must accommodate.

imagE/cello and imAge/cello were also written for Descharmes, with (to quote Reynolds) “both the individual himself and his characteristic incandescence—in mind.”  The first is a luminous and ringing exploration shaped first by rising and then descending sequences of harmonics. The second is constructed as a texture of incessant, forcefully strummed chords.

Thoughts, Places, Dreams is a further exploration of the “Image” pieces for solo cello, and is dedicated to both Descharmes and to Ensemble Court-circuit and its director Philippe Hurel.

French cellist Alexis Descharmes and Roger Reynolds have a close artistic relationship which led to this composer supervised set.

Liner notes by Reynolds and Alexis Descharmes.


This significant double-set offers all of Reynolds’ cello works ranging from the compact contrasting solos imagE/cello and imAge/cello to heftier works requiring accompanying ensembles. Process and Passion for violin, cello and computer-processed sound attracts immediately with intense details. Descharmes invests totally in these pieces of “delightful strangeness,” having closely collaborated with Reynolds for several years. Also included are the composer reading the influencing texts: James Merrill for the solo Focus a beam, emptied of thinking, outward… and Aeschylus for Process and Passion and the cello-piano duo A Crimson Path. Colombi Daydream derives structure and mood from one of the earliest known cello works, Giuseppi Colombi’s Chiacona, and is one of 31 multi-composer variations, “Mystery Variations,” commissioned for Anssi Karttunen’s 50th birthday.
— Grant Chu Covell, LaFolia, July 2016


Alexis DESCHARMES profile
Roger REYNOLDS profile
Ensemble Court-circuit  profile
Jean DEROYER profile
Nicolas MIRIBEL  profile
Sébastien VICHARD  profile