Painted Seasons for Solo Cello


Painted Seasons: Autumn Mist, Lovers in Winter, Spring Blossoms, Summer Butterfly, for solo Cello. A suite of four pieces for solo cello reflecting the moods of the seasons. The fourth piece begins with an allusion to a Japanese folk melody, but the variations wander rather too far from it to be called an arrangement of it.

Version of 11 January 2023

The sound file on this site is Painted_Seasons_Solo_Cello_MS4.mp3

I've also composed a version of this piece for solo Alto Flute. There is a recorded performance of that version by flutist Beth Ratay at:

Comments welcome.  I'm not putting the score on the internet yet, but if anyone wants to see it, please message me.


Image: A woodblock print by Suzuki Harunobu

Image information and licensing

Please note that this composition is under copyright.

For performance permission, please see my permissions page.



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  • I like it. The software cello is a little harsh on the ears, but hey, we all fight for our work to be performed, not?

    Anyway, simple melodic lines, and it keeps going somewhere so I stay interested. Hm. Until about 3:40. That's where you make a left turn into more ?contemporary? sounds. For me you could have stopped there.

    • Thanks for listening and for the comments.  There may be a mood change at the point you mention.  The piece is to some extent based on a traditional Japanese scale -- I forget now what that particular one is called -- and it may start to wander into a more Western feeling at the point you mention.

      Incidentally, the interludes between each season are simply a whole tone scale -- if it sounds familiar, that's because that scale is often used in films to indicate someone being transported to a dream or fantasy.

  • Hi John,

    I listened to the live recording. There is a certain type of flute playing which takes advantage of the age of the instrument - it must be one of the oldest types of instrument there is (I said without doing any research). When music is composed in this style, it is atavistic and I would certainly classify this work in that style. It is an ancient sound and very attractive. In particular to this work, I like that the instrument moves in and out of speedy passages and slower lower-register ones, that keeps it from getting boring. The handling of melody works quite well. One further point: I had a distinct impression listening to the piece that it was a story being told. Well done!


    • Thanks very much for the interesting and insightful comment.  I think all music, if it's any good, tells a story, not that it necessarily embodies a "program music" narrative, but it has the emotional pattern and structure of a story.  You might say that music, if it's meaningful, tells an abstract story.

  • The audio file on is now (11 January 2023) a new one made with MuseScore 4 and sounds much better, though I still hope eventually to have an actual live performance of it.

  • The version performed on flute is absolutely stunning. Talented musician and the piece just seems more suited for that instrument. Has a very mysterious and curious feel to it. It was an excellent listen.

    • Thanks for the generous comment. As the composer, I myself couldn't be more pleased with Beth Ratay's excellent performance.  

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