Duration: 00:05:50
Instrumentation: Cello and Piano
Key: A minor
Opus: 10
Year: 2017
Work Type:

Written especially for cellist Keith Tempest, Oligos comes from being in a place that is neither here nor there, an ‘almost’ period of restless waiting to transition to a new place that is strongly desired. The piece encapsulates the emotional journey experienced while being in this ‘almost’ place; the plaintive phrases of the cello moving into a more expressive melody at the beginning attempt to express the feeling of melancholy and sadness experienced when stuck in this place of no direction.

As the piece moves on, the desire and painful longing for the soon coming new place is expressed through a restless rising cello line followed by an impassioned climax, supported by anguished chords in the piano. This theme returns later on in the piece but in a higher register for the cello, expressing a heightened sense of desperation, inner conflict and longing.

The piece ends with a final cry from the cello and ends on an unresolving D against the piano’s C Minor chord, both instruments fading away into nothing as one resolves to wait in this ‘neither here nor there’ place a little longer, until it is time to move on.

The word ‘Oligos’ in Ancient Greek means ‘almost’.

Performed by Keith Tempest (cello) and Barbara Murray (piano)

Watch the second performance here.