Betsy Jolas has been a friend for many years. For a long time met at concerts - there are few musicians one meets as often at concerts in Paris - she was always very warm and kind to me, even if I hadn't played her music. Over the years we became close friends and I got to know her music much better. The more I listened to it, the more I discovered wonderful masterpieces of incredible variety.


Betsy has already written many works for the cello; alone, with piano and with ensemble. The first of her pieces that I played was Episode Cinquième for solo cello. She later took part in the Mystery Variations, a 50th birthday gift for me, and wrote a piece called A Fancy for Anssi. in 2016 I also played her Quatuor V in Canada at the Domaine Forget with wonderful young players.


For a long time I had been thinking of what I would could ask her to write for me that would have a special meaning. Two years ago I finally got an idea: There exist two beautiful pieces for cello and string orchestra which are so short that they are difficult to program. These pieces are Toru Takemitsu's Scene and Witold Lutoslawski's Grave. I thought that if Betsy would write a third piece, the three could be programmed either as a Triptych or separately, making the repertoire for cello and String orchestra at once much richer. Happily Betsy liked the idea and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra has commissioned the piece.


I am very touched and excited that just now - as Betsy is celebrating her 90th birthday - she has started writing this piece for me. I can't wait to see it finished and hopefully give it a long life.


AK 15.9.2016


Update


"Side Roads" for cello and String Orchestra was finished on the 17th of July 2017 in Chérence. The piece became longer than originally planned, about 17:30 long and is for an orchestra of 6-5-5-3-2 strings. 


As a special treat, Betsy started immediately to write a piece which she calls a Lied-cycle for cello and piano, for Anssi and Nicolas Hodges.

AK   21.7.2017

Betsy Jolas

photo © Pascal Dusapin

photo © Pascal Dusapin

photo © MvB

photo © MvB

photo © Pascal Dusapin

photo © MvB

First pages of "Side Roads", September 3rd 2017

Last page of "Side Roads"19.7.2017

Betsy explaining "Side Roads"  to Anssi 19.7.2017


www.karttunen.orghttp://www.karttunen.orghttp://www.karttunen.orgshapeimage_1_link_0

Anssi Karttunen playing music by Betsy Jolas:

15.7.2016: Quatuor V, Domaine Forget, Quebec, Canada

22.2.2017: Quatre pieces en marge, Tirana, Albania (with Florent Boffard)

22.4.2017: Quatre pieces en marge, Reid Hall, Paris (with Nicolas Hodges)

5.10.2017: Episode cinquiéme, Nantes, France

7.10.2017: Episode cinquiéme, Philharmonie, Luxembourg

26.10.2017: Episode cinquiéme, UCDavis, California

4.11.2017: Episode cinquiéme, Centro Cultural Kirchner, Buenos Aires

18.10.2018: Side Roads, Örebro, Sweden