Solo Sonata ...commissioned …in the wake of 9/11 exists
on a more remote plane, its emotions rooted in the different
‘souls’ of the two instruments themselves; the music is eloquent,
impersonal and, in the central ‘Lament’ for viola, wrenchingly powerful.
–Laurence Vittes, GRAMOPHONE MAGAZINE
for soloist playing both vn, vla
Commissioned by Yuval Waldman, violinist
Available from Subito Music
Though I did not know it at the time, the Solo Sonata was the coming together of two disparate events in my life: my first opportunity to write for a virtuoso musician, and the events of 9/11/2001. Shortly after the Trade Centers went down, Yuval Waldman came to me with the concept of a three-part solo work with viola featured in the interior movement. While thinking about this piece, I read an article referring to the phenomenon of “feast-famine-feast,” where the human response to a disaster is sometimes a more raucous denial of reality than that which led up to the disaster in the first place. My outline for the piece comes from this idea. Unifying the movements are the same five notes, very differently deployed, to be sure. These pitches, as an opening gesture, came to me while looking at a collection of small Paul Klee watercolors at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The first movement,“Capricciossa,” is the more or less innocent dance of a young girl in rondo form, Then comes “Lament,” in which the viola describes the immediate aftermath of something horrific. Both these movements make significant use of the 5-note gesture. Finally, “Malevolent Dances” unleashes the furious denial of a dangerous, unresolved reality and after the opening howl, throws it away forever.
“…A response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks….The contrast of violin vs.
viola is …surprisingly powerful and again speaks to Kander’s dramatic sensibilities.”
– Fanfare Magazine