Sally Beamish: Viola Sonata [download]
20-minute work composed in 2001. Commissioned by Haddington Music Club. First performed by Gilliane Haddow and Peter Evans at the Town House, Haddington, 30 March 2002.
In 1995 I wrote with Janice Galloway an extended ‘scene’ for soprano based on the life of Clara Schumann, which was in turn inspired by Robert Schumann’s settings of the Chamisso cycle Frauenliebe und -leben.
I have often wished to return to this material, and have now done so in this new viola sonata, which further develops themes from Clara, using recurring motifs across all four movements and exploring them in different ways.
It is in four movements. The first is rhapsodic in style and refers to the rhythmic piano theme that opens the Schumann cycle. The second is an elegy which plays on the resonances created between the two instruments in unisons and simple counterpoint. The third movement, a scherzo, is mercurial, with a dance-like central section – a half-remembered waltz, as if heard in a dream. The final movement brings back the main Clara theme, calming it into reflective, almost static music which leads back eventually (as in the Schumann) to the rhythmic motif of the first movement. (Sally Beamish).
Handwritten score (31pp) and part (13pp) scanned to pdf for immediate download.