VIOLA CONCERTO FOR VIOLA & FULL ORCHESTRA — David Hoenigsberg
06: First movement
07: Second movement
08: Third movement

The Viola Concerto was commissioned by the South African Performing Rights Organization and was dedicated to Walter Mony for his birthday. At the time, Mony was the Professor of Music in the Chair At the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where David studied for the B.Mus. Hons.degree. The Concerto is sub-titled “Scenes from African Life,” suggesting personal and autobiographical connection. It is scored for strings, woodwind, brass, and a substantial percussion section. The work abounds in an opulent variety of textures — simple, compound, hybrid and dense chordal clusters rather reminiscent of Ligeti or Lutoslawski. The viola role emerges like a denizen of the African undergrowth, initially ungainly, and then gradually metamorphosing into a creature of consummate agility. Searing dissonances alternate with transparent magical textures. Towards the end of the first movement there is a solemn intoning of a quotation from the Hebrew liturgy with its poignant augmented intervals. The second movement is a Dance, studded with dense double stops and chords darting in and out of the orchestral backdrop and evolving into complex rhythmic patterns. The third movement elaborates on the motifs from the first and second and is interspersed with snippets of African folk tunes. There are brief spells of onomatopoetic nature sounds from the African forest. The work closes with a coda in which a fanciful flight of the flute ascends into the stellar regions over a sustained solo viola pedal, completing the metamorphosis.

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