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Topic: more "Garritan Stradivarius viola" (finale of Sonatina for viola)

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  1. #1

    more "Garritan Stradivarius viola" (finale of Sonatina for viola)

    This is the final movement of four, of my Sonatina for viola and piano.

    It's something a bit different from what I normally write, it's considerably more "tonal" and light-hearted. I also held back a bit on the technical difficulties, befitting its nomenclature as a "sonatina" rather than a "sonata".

    It's a Rondo, with a light little theme as its ritournello.

    The interludes are varied, the first keeps up the momentum of the main theme with rolling 16ths in the piano but overlays more melodic material in the solo.

    The return of the ritournello melts out of the 1st interlude, and suddenly shifts gears to a slower tempo. The impressionistic 2nd interlude follows, with a "gurgling brook" accompaniment in the piano.

    The next ritournello is very brief, and introduces a slow, contemplative section over a repetitive accompaniment.

    The ritournello pops up once more, this time in the piano, over figurations in the viola, as the drive to the final coda and cadence begins.

    The Rondo finale

    I hope some of you enjoy this. I'm hoping to interest some younger violists into performing it.

    Here are links to the previous two movements:

    the Scherzo

    a traditional little scherzo, a bit more dissonant perhaps than its surrounding movements.

    and the Adagio

    a very simple long-winded melody (damn those long lyrical themes are hard to write), with a contrasting middle section in a more ethereal mood.

  2. #2

    Re: more "Garritan Stradivarius viola" (finale of Sonatina for viola)

    Wow.

    The tonal language, melodic lyricism, thematic unity, are all impressive here. Its ambitious and sophisticated without being unaccessible or pretentious. Very good work! I really enjoyed this, and am looking forward to tracking down the other movements (any links?).

    This is one piece I wouldn't mind hearing live! I do know a violist ;-).

    Matt

  3. #3

    Re: more "Garritan Stradivarius viola" (finale of Sonatina for viola)

    Thank-you very much, Matt.

    Well, if your violist friend would like to look at it / hear it, I'd be more than happy to forward a score.

    I have to say that while I love the Strad as a violin, de-tuning down a 5th to act as a viola does alter the sound significantly. The vibrato sounds... not quite right.

    It's still such a gorgeously expressive instrument (the Garritan Strad) that it's hard not to play around with it.

    I will update the first post above to include links to the Strad playing the 2nd and 3rd movements of the Sonatina.

    Again, thank-you for your kind words, Matt.

  4. #4
    Senior Member sd cisco's Avatar
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    Re: more "Garritan Stradivarius viola" (finale of Sonatina for viola)

    Hi Michel;
    It is very good and lively, but for some reason is not at an equal volume level as and Adagio and Scherzo. Apart from that easy to fix item, very enjoyable and I must say the Scherzo was very fresh and endearing despite it's "dissonance"! Good work!!!

    You may be interested to know, when I was a kid, we lived in Peterborough, ON for 4 years, right next door to the Cherney's; and Brian and Lawrence were playmates. Also, I have for many years, lived in a rural setting and for the last 20 years, Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer has lived about 2 miles from here, but you rarely see him!

    I thought the pairing of the viola and piano to be quite effective and distinctive sounding and through the 3 movements, you demonstrate a lot of versatility of expression.
    Thank you for sharing this work. I found it very satisfying!

    Best regards,
    sd cisco

  5. #5

    Re: more "Garritan Stradivarius viola" (finale of Sonatina for viola)

    Thank-you SD.

    I never lived near any famous composers... but I did have the pleasure of studying under a few "more or less" famous ones .

    I've always loved R. Murray Schaffer's harpsichord concerto.

    I lived in Montréal all my life (until we bought our home in the country 2 years ago), so I was never so much in contact with Toronto or further west composers.

    And now the funny thing is most of my performance contacts are on the west coast. I recently got 2 important commissions from two orchestras out west in BC, and possibly a solo cello piece for a young cellist studying in Vancouver.

    And dammit all, I'm having so much trouble getting my music played here in Québec. I have to pay the performers myself most of the time. I'm happily financially independent... but still not "rich". At least, not enough to have as many performances of my works as I'd like.


    N.B. I will check the volume levels. It could be I forgot to adjust the volumes in the earlier movements after recording the rondo-finale.

  6. #6
    Senior Member sd cisco's Avatar
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    Re: more "Garritan Stradivarius viola" (finale of Sonatina for viola)

    You are very welcome Michel!!
    While upstairs tidying the kitchen, I realized I had left out the most incredible of all my "famous composer" anecdotes; that is, in 1969 (EGAD!!), New Years Eve, I was living in a village called Lakefield, ON. Trent University sits on the banks of the Otonabee River, about halfway between Peterborough and Lakefield. I was alone that evening and a young couple, who were close friends and also lived in Lakefield, invited me to their home for a small New Years Eve house party, consisting of themselves, along with 2 other couples, and me. My friend Peter Cragg, would not tell me who his guests were over the phone, instead told me it would be a surprise. As I trudged through the frigid night, I thought about who in the world this special guest would be!
    When I got there, Peter showed me in and then, on into the living room, where sat an older couple, and a younger couple. To my astonishment, the older gentleman was Prof. John Weinzweig, (U. of Toronto), along with his wife and the other couple was their son David, a Prof. at Trent at the time, and his wife. He was on friendly terms with Peters wife Lynn, who was his student.
    After the powerful jolt from meeting John Weinzweig under such circumstances, there was much more to come. Following a few drinks, we all went upstairs to a small room where my ancient Wurlitzer electric piano sat, on loan to Peter.
    It was all we had to play on, and it had a number of issues, including no sustain pedal. No matter, Weinzweig took the first turn at the piano, and in spite of everything, found the groove, so to speak, and began a most amazing and inventive improvisation. The power of it swirled around and around in that little candle-lit room, the pianist beginning to sweat from the brow, fervent, trance-like, to look at him like that, not 4 feet away, with his wife occasionally letting out with, "that's Spain", or that's this or that, was strictly unparalleled in my experience. They were all unguarded and cool and we went on like that, each taking turns, for the rest of the evening!

    Thought I would share that as well.

    Best regards,
    sd cisco

  7. #7

    Re: more "Garritan Stradivarius viola" (finale of Sonatina for viola)

    Quote Originally Posted by sd cisco View Post
    ...but for some reason is not at an equal volume level as and Adagio and Scherzo.
    sd cisco

    Thank-you for putting me on the trail.
    I was trying and trying to figure out what the problem was, as all the files had the exact same Ambience setting and volumes .

    Well, I finally figured it out:

    The panning was slightly different on the older movements.
    With the finale, I moved the instruments apart a bit more, which has as a result to lower the volume ever so slightly.

    Anyway, the files have been corrected now.

    Thank-you for putting me on the track of that little mystery.

  8. #8

    Re: more "Garritan Stradivarius viola" (finale of Sonatina for viola)

    YES Michel,

    Tremendous job! It is different yet as usual I hear some "Michel-isms" common to much of your writing. I would think this piece would be appealing to any age/level of player.


    Regards,
    Steve Winkler

  9. #9

    Re: more "Garritan Stradivarius viola" (finale of Sonatina for viola)

    Thank-you so much Steve.

    It's a bit strange, but it's always a struggle for me when I write something that is more "traditional" than normal.

    I have been scarred by some very bigoted teaching in the past: professors who objected strenuously to even the passing fleeting triads, the mildest of consonances, or even of what might appear to be traditional voice leading.

    And drilled into my skull, day after day, was the mantra that "every note must be justified (heavily implied that this was a mathematical conception of justification)".

    Luckily, working with Alan Belkin broke me of a lot of that. The scars, however, are still there, and I still wince when I want to toss in a V-I progression.

  10. #10

    Re: more "Garritan Stradivarius viola" (finale of Sonatina for viola)

    Quote Originally Posted by qccowboy
    I have been scarred by some very bigoted teaching in the past: professors who objected strenuously to even the passing fleeting triads, the mildest of consonances, or even of what might appear to be traditional voice leading.
    I hear you. I had the same experience with my only composition teacher. At the time I didn't understand the restriction and viewed it trying to "fit in" with the crowd than anything. For me the scar or the hinderance is never being satisfied with the form my pieces take. It's too easy for me to get mired in the details of a piece and not see the big picture.

    You seem to have come out of that quite nicely. Maybe I should contact Alan and see if he could help me. I wonder if he does any remote teaching?

    Thanks again for sharing this and all the pieces you masterfully put together.

    Steve Winkler

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