Ezra Laderman’s Partita for Solo Cello, subtitled Meditations on Isaiah, represents the composer’s highly personal and emotional responses to passages from the biblical Book of Isaiah—some of the same passages he set ten years later for the soprano solo in his Isaiah Symphony. The partita was commissioned by CBS Television and first performed on its Lamp Unto My Feet program in April 1972 by cellist Timothy Eddy—a member of the Orion Quartet.
In this expansive, extended, and often continuously developed partita, the cello sustains what critic Bernard Holland called a “long and solemn monologue,” which embraces six movements. There was no intention to incorporate traditionally Jewish thematic material; rather, this piece represents its composer’s highly introspective reactions to the prophet’s pronouncements and his inner convictions that the biblical book confirms. In the television production, sections from Isaiah I and II were read dramatically between movements by poet Norman Rosten. But this is not reflected in the published version.
Performers: Claudio Jaffe, Cello
Publisher: G. Schirmer, Inc.