Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra, Op.19

Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
24 minutes
Modern classical music
Instrumental parts
Not available

Concerto for Viola and (Chamber) Orchestra (Revised Version)

This has multiple meanings, surface and hidden. Written in one of the toughest time yet in my life, I have tried to portray the stereotypical violist, continually striving for the top but always being held back by forces beyond his control. This sense of false hope is evident throughout the work.

The first movement is of a quasi-soliloquy. The orchestra forms an atmospheric backdrop to the soloist’s monologue. There are few exchanges in dialog between the solo and ensemble. Unlike typical first movements, there are no real major developments of the principal thematic fragments. The movement ends with a glimpse of hope and bitter sweet happiness only to be quickly overcome by a surreal cluster of sound and a haunting vibraphone solo.

The second movement, titled ’Nocturne’, contains more interplay between solo and ensemble. An inner tension is built throughout the movement, as with the preceding, building up to a tutti climax before subsiding into a soothing, yet grotesque lullaby. The movement ends similarly to the first: with the strings, and a vibraphone solo. The movement proceeds attacca into the Finale.

The third movement ’Finale’ is a frenetic scherzo with a quasi-tarantella element. Material and elements of the previous movements recur here, constantly interfering with progress. The soloist has its last words before becoming overwhelmed with the struggle to prove himself and resign in despair by joining with the ensemble at the final chord, ending the saga abruptly, eliminating any hope of utterance for the violist.

"In life, we are promised high aspirations…but in truth, we are given false hope."

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