Daryl Runswick    Viola Sonata

Caleb Sibley, viola
Aleksander Szram, piano

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Viola Sonata (2012, revised 2015) was written in memory of my friend John Rolton. As with my other recent sonata-titled pieces I didn’t feel the old ‘sonata form’ appropriate to a contemporary piece. Structural devices have life-spans like anything else.

I approached the issue of structural unity-with-contrast by applying various treatments, always to the same material. In Viola Sonata this is the long melody heard at the beginning, re-introduced many times in different guises. Thirteen short sections, lasting 1-2 minutes each and running without a break, contain each a new interpretation of the basic material. The sections are juxtaposed rather than merged, and the technique is not so much of development as re-imagining or variation. The harmonies are made from modes, two of them alternating, one ‘minor-ish’, one ‘major-ish’. The thirteen sections are arranged in groups to form a ‘first movement’, a ‘scherzo’, a ‘slow movement’ and a reprise of the opening.


Recorded at The DReam Room, London, March 2015
Engineered and produced by Daryl Runswick

The piano is Bösendorfer No. 23270

Piano technician Allen Wright

This composition, recording and images are covered by copyright.