Sonata for Viola Soloop. 87 (1999)
Boosey & Hawkes
Hoxton Hall, London
Paul Silverthorne, viola /
This unassuming piece hung around in my mind for ages before being written. For more than a year I couldn’t get beyond its opening four notes, and their characteristic tone colour with the C string tuned a semitone down. When at last things got moving (summer 1999) these notes as melody and harmony influenced all the other material. Every solo string composition inevitably stands in some kind of relation to JS Bach: here it lies in this idea of organic growth whereby the ramifications of a single cell yield the entire substance. The first movement, ‘slowish and thoughtful’, is a prelude, the second is a scherzo and trio, the third, adagio, takes the mood and matter of the prelude further; the finale (allegro amabile) begins casual and tentative, gradually intensifying into a slow coda fusing prelude and slow movements into an indistinguishable whole.
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer