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Rare Earth

for solo cello

Dorothy Ker

Composer:   Dorothy Ker

Films, Audio & Samples

Dorothy Ker: Rare Earth — V...

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Dorothy Ker: Rare Earth — V...

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While composing this piece I became fascinated with a particular series of elements known as lanthanides or ’rare earths’, including promethium 61. Promethium is particularly unstable atomically, with radioactive properties that give it strong luminescent qualities, which have been detected in the spectra of the galaxy Andromeda. This image resonated strongly with the unstable, atomistic world I was creating through combining varyingly-spaced natural harmonics that gradually spiral up the cello strings towards ever greater fragility. The players’ skill is to harness the transient ‘luminosity’ afforded by particular combinations en route.

Notes by Dorothy Ker.

Performance history

21 Oct 2014: Performed by Séverine Ballon at the Rare Earth Concert at City University London, in London.