In Black Light
for solo viola
First Performance 13 July 2018, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, France; Tabea Zimmermann
Commissioned by Festival d’Aix-en-Provence
The theme inhabits a delicate, dream-like surreal place with the viola traversing extremes in register, floating from low to very high in a hushed, serene and intimate sound world. Elegant melodic fragments slowly emerge. Always contrasting stylistically and displaying heights of exquisiteness and virtuosic power, successive passages evolve as quasi variations on the theme. The pitch structure of the theme, serving as a starting point for each, is then elaborated upon and developed in different ways. The first variation is jagged and fiery. The second gently dances along, a kind of broken waltz, followed by a mysterious pizzicato miniature. Dark and longing, a full-bodied intense section succeeds, leading to the height of the piece, energetic and syncopated, climbing high on the instrument before sinking to its’ depths. The theme itself is absent until its return in the final part, urgently present and expressively charged.