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LSO Soundhub: Viola Miniatures Part 1

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Published on Sep 20, 2012

Soundhub Showcase Concert, Friday 22 June, LSO St Luke's

Paul Silverthorne viola

Block by Adam de la Cour
Block came about through a mix of diverse influences over a two week period. The initial starting point was Freud's quote concerning the death drive (Todestrieb):
"the hypothesis of a death instinct, the task of which is to lead organic life back into the inanimate state"
...which was then mixed in with some experiments with the octatonic scale; general writing by ear; and many moments of writer's block.

Hora Spoitorilor by Emma-Ruth Richards
Hora Spoitorilor explores one variation on the Romanian folk song of the same name that much of the thematic material for my new chamber opera is built on; the opera is a rescue story of one of the thousands of young Romanian girls that are sex trafficked into
Britain every year. This image is from Vanessa Beecroft's sculptural performance in Spasimo Palermo, which Nic, the librettist (http://www.nicchalmers.co.uk) was greatly inspired by.

Rite by Richard Bullen
'The viola is seemingly just a big violin but tuned a fifth lower. In reality the two instruments are worlds apart. They both have three strings in common, the A, D and G string. The high E-string lends the violin a powerful luminosity and metallic penetrating tone which is missing in the viola. The violin leads; the viola remains in the shade. In return the low C-string gives the viola a unique acerbity, compact, somewhat hoarse, with the aftertaste of wood, earth and tannic acid.' Gyorgy Ligeti, preface to Viola Sonata (1994)
Part reflection on Ligeti's comment, part exploration of the ceremonial aspects of musical performance, Rite was written at the request of the talented young violist Diana Mathews who gave the first performance at St John the Bapist Church, Wimbledon in February 2012. It is designed to be performed in a large, resonant space.

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