Composition Department

Viola Concerto 
in One Movement (1995)

Atar Arad, viola; Indiana University Chamber Orchestra; Paul Biss, conductor

From The Music of Don Freund Vol. 1 IUSM-10. Purchase CD online at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Marketplace. 

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Viola Concerto was written for Atar Arad. Every idea in the piece reflects one of the marvelous qualities of a viola in the hands of an artist. No other instrument has such a natural warmth, mystery, amiable jocularity, forthright directness, and folk-like voice. In this Viola Concerto, the sound and character of the solo instrument is set apart from its surroundings in a variety of ways; the viola and orchestra rarely share material. 

 The one-movement form provides ample opportunities for sectional overlapping, juxtapositioning, interlocking, and cross-referencing, but the listener should be able to recognize six distinct sections (averaging 3-4 minutes in length) which alternate slow and fast tempos. The initial idea, a gesture which grows out of a repeated C£ (marked &Mac185;, marcato, relentless) presents a ritualistic character which re-appears throughout the piece. The three fast sections are defined by (section 2 - at CD track time 3:03) demonic, incisive staccato eighth-notes; (section 4 - at 7:49) a "rustic, hearty" folk-like melody peppered with driving repeated 32nd-notes interlaced with the orchestra's delicate triplet weavings; and (section 6 - at 16:40) a bright, high-spirited scherzo-finale. The work's center of gravity is the pivotal fifth section, a free "Blues" (at 12:50). 

Viola Concerto is scored for 2 antiphonal wind quintets, percussion, harp, piano and strings. 

Atar Arad is Professor of Viola at the Indiana University School of Music. His honors and prizes include Artist Diploma, Israeli Academy, 1966. Graduo, La Chapelle Musicale de la Reine Elisabeth, Brussels, 1971. He won First Prize, Geneva International Competition, 1972. He has been principal violist for the Frankfurt Symphony Orchestra, Senior Lecturer at the Royal Northern School of Music and Rice University. He was the violist of the Cleveland Quartet from 1980-87. He has been Artist-Faculty at the Aspen Music Festival, and has appeared in concert tours and festivals worldwide, including featured performances in Berlin, Edinburgh, Israel, Paris and Salzburg.

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