Viola and Piano

As my brother Dan is not only a fine artist-violist but a master chamber musician, I was clearly fated to create a big work for him, which he recorded with pianist Pamela Pyle. Patricia McCarty has also championed the work in Boston. Stay tuned for an orchestration of the accompaniment . . .

(The Meditation is a transcription from my Cello Sonata.)

view scoreGround Zero, 2:00 am (alto saxophone, accompanied)alto saxophone, harp (or guitar or piano or marimba)1'2014
Order This»My first 9/11 memorial piece: a simple, slow, poignant melody starting with a quick arcing gesture also used to create the end cadence. Version for Eb alto saxophone with simple added accompaniment for harp (or guitar, or piano, or 5-octave marimba)
II. Lento4'
Prayerful meditation in simple slow one-theme song form. Melody in cello, over a low bell-like descending piano ostinato with tinkling rising punctuations. Sweet end. Also versions for Viola, Eb Alto Sax.
III. Finale (Ghost Riders)13'45
Driven, extended, mock-heroic finale with Soviet-modern flavor. Offhand ending.

view scoreTORN CURTAIN suiteviola, piano32'1991
Order Score/Set»Written for my brother Dan in resonance with Eastern Europe and Russia 1989-90. Suite on original tunes that sound Roumanian, Hungarian, Russian, Czech, songs of empathy and powerless compassion -- from a stranger. Heroic writing for the viola, the piano a substantial partner. (Accompanying descriptive vignettes.) RECORDING: Albany CD "Three Generations" (Avshalomov/Pamela Pyle). Finalist, American Prize 2014 for Chamber Music CompositionNotes»
I. The Old Tunes7'40
Dramatic sonata form, fresh new melodies replacing development, varied returns replacing the recapitulation. A lopsided arch: ABCDEFED_BA, crowned by a free, passionate, whirling duo-cadenza. Blunt, stoic ending.
II. Menuetto3'
Crude old-fashioned minuet/trio (baroque shapes in an Oriental mode, ornamented repeats). High viola harmonics in the trio like tears of trapped children. Fattened return, the cadence pure resignation. RECORDING (premiere of this movement): Patricia McCarty/Cary Lewis
in concert 2015, University of Oregon School of Music, Eugene
III. Ballade4'10
Clear ABA' form. The viola offers dry, solemn, phrases in baroque-dance rhythm; the piano gives bittersweet answers. The viola gives a high, sad, old-fashioned romantic love tune, the pianist pounds to the climax, winds down, they repeat the starting dance. Gentle ending.
IV. Incident (in the Town Square)1'45
Sneaky little scherzo, over before you know it. Fast meters of 5, 7, and 9 establish a busy theme built on repeating cells, interrupted and resumed. Things get violent; the viola emits squeals over crashing clusters in the piano.