Painted Seasons for Solo Cello


Painted Seasons: Autumn Mist, Lovers in Winter, Spring Blossoms, Summer Butterfly, for solo Cello.

Version of 23 May 2022.

The sound file on this site was created with software as a demo.

Painted Seasons Solo Cello (Mastered with Aurora at 50pct).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:

Program note: Summer Butterfly in part incorporates a theme from a Japanese folk song.

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.

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