words by CHARLES BAUDELAIRE               music by ALEXANDER BAILLIE             for soprano and cello ensemble

Conceived for the same instrumentation and as a possible companion piece for „Bachianas Brasileiras No.5“ by Villa-Lobos this is an unusual and effective adition to the repertoire for voice and cello ensemble.The cello parts are ideal for young student cellists of school age to encounter an exotic world of sound colours and challenging, evocative playing techniques. There is a rich variety of conventional playing which lies easily on the instrument. The harmonic language frequently uses a whole tone scale and serves as a useful introduction to „French-impressionistic“ modern music.

The musical ideas are simple and graphic and include special sounds such as the „white noise“ at the very end and the haunting „seagulls“ made by slides in stopped harmonics. The eight seperate cello parts are specially laid out in pairs, two to a stand. The voice line is cued so that players can follow the poem, the extraordinary language and imagery. Thus the work can be performed without a conductor. 


The music owes a great deal to inspiration from some of Baillie’s favorite composers; Britten, Debussy, Schumann, and Henri Dutilleux. The key of the work is B flat major. Two of the celllists are asked to de-tune their lowest strings B flat and F sharp. This gives a wonderfully rich depth to the whole ensemble sound. The piece is roughly 15 minutes long.

The performance material can be purchased in a LIMITED EDITION which includes:

  • a printed copy of the score
  • a set of parts specially laid out with two cellos to a stand and the voice line cued
  • A reduction for piano and voice for study purposes is available seperately. 
  • The cover illustration is a painting by Christel Baillie (