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Cymbeline is a new work for mandolin and string quartet, written specially for mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital. The title is an old Celtic word meaning ‘Lord of the Sun’. I think the idea of the piece being about the sun emerged out of the colours of the string quartet and the mandolin together. Although I don’t think of myself as a synaesthetic person I kept having a strong sense of the colour gold in the early sketches for the piece. The mandolin itself has always seemed to me to create a ‘golden’ sound, and when combined with the warmth of the strings it seems now obvious that I should be drawn towards something warm and golden.

The sun was one of the first objects of worship and it has been surmised that the idea of a holy trinity (found not just in Christianity, but in numerous earlier religions) relates to the three distinct positions of the sun—sunrise (= father), noon (= son), and sunset (= spirit). Sunrise is ‘the father of the day’; midday represents the fullness of energy, the son; and sunset is a time for contemplation and reflection—the spirit. To me, these three states represent not just 'father, son and spirit' but also perhaps, the reflection upon an action about to happen (sunrise), the action itself (noon), and the reflection on the action that happened (sunset).

Cymbeline accordingly is in three movements, with two contemplative outer movements surrounding an energetic central movement. I see the piece as a contemplation of our relationship with this fiery giver of life, whose significance to us is often overlooked in the modern world, but who still really does rule over us all.

from notes by David Bruce © 2019


Movement 1: Sunrise
Movement 2: Noon
Movement 3: Sunset

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