Throughout the course of the performance a cellist plays a series of fifty-three single tones spanning the normal range of the instrument, from C2 to E6, in seven sets of permutations. As he does so, corresponding tones in the orchestra enter and leave while the cello tones are sounded, forming simultaneities of various textures and densities.
In Sections 1, 3, 5, and 7, the orchestral players, starting from a 53note cluster, drop out, one by one, as they are sounded by the cellist, leaving a single tone at the end. In Sections 2, 4, and 6, the players enter as the cellist plays their tones, gradually building up the full cluster.
Slices was written for cellist Charles Curtis. It was first performed on 29 August 2007, by the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra with Petr Kotik, conductor, and Charles Curtis, solo cello, as part of the Ostrava Days Music Festival, Czech Republic.
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