In February of 2020 cellist Dorothy Braker commissioned a cello ensemble version of “The Story of Mycal Klein” for the UNH Cello Festival. Originally composed in the fall of 2018 for two cellos, the title refers to a close German friend, and this piece is a salute to adventures of long ago; but there is a little bit of a mystery behind the title, much like the Enigma Variations by Elgar.
The inspiration for the first section, with its driving rhythms and syncopated accents, came from hearing a Scandinavian tune in a recording by the Danish String Quartet. The middle section, more meditative in character, starts with a simple melody floating on top of rich chords, followed by a peaceful, perhaps somewhat yearning theme. The final section is composed after a fiddling tune from Canada – "The Miramichi Fire." In 1825, a massive fire devastated forests and towns throughout much of New Brunswick. However, the tune gives no sense of the disaster, as it beckons foot tapping and good fun. Pizzicatos, glissandos, harmonics and sul ponticello effects attempt to create a colorful and occasionally humorous atmosphere.
The original version of “The Story of Mycal Klein” was premiered by Ovidiu Marinescu and Lily Eckman at West Chester University on November 30, 2018.
Ovidiu Marinescu, February 28, 2020