06 September 2010

Viola Sonata Missive

Dear N—,

I trust you’ve had an enjoyable summer!

I have an idea that I’ve already sent you the first two movements of the Viola Sonata . . . so for completeness’ sake, here I clutter your in-box with the third and final movement.

This movement actually includes the first of the music I ever wrote for the piece. Four years ago, on meeting violist Peter Lekx (who has become a great friend), I began (what I thought a the time would just be a single-movement work) Tango in Boston. I wrote a chunk of it, and then as I saw (a) how generally busy with various musical projects Pete was, (b) that half (and maybe more) of his attentions were at the time focused on early music, and (c) at the time, I still did not know a pianist who would be capable of the piece I was scheming . . . I set it aside.

At the time, though, I had talked about this beginning trunk of the piece with some on-line friends, including Dana Huyge, who was about to enroll at the Eastman School. I think I’ve told you the rest: that after a long interval, Dana pinged me with the suggestion that I finish “the viola sonata” for performance in a recital this fall.

— As I say, at the time I started sketching Tango in B, I wasn’t thinking multi-movement work . . . I think that Dana must have remembered “viola & piano,” and in the back of his mind, the piece became a viola sonata. I am glad that was the case, though, because I was electrified by the idea . . . immediately felt that the completed Tango would serve well as a third movement, and started into the first two movements.

So . . . the 2006 “fossil” of this movement is found in the first 70 measures of the now-completed piece. Though (to work backwards) for mm. 49-70, I had only the basso ostinato in the piano, and knew I wanted to add quite a bit “against” it; mm. 33-48 is largely intact from the old MS., for the most part the only re-composition is that I adjusted the RH; mm. 1-32 is most nearly “intact” . . . the adjustments there were mostly on the order of adding a couple of more overt tango-ish touches.

Well, there it is.


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