Orianna Webb -- Works
Sonata for Viola and Piano
The first movement of this sonata is a chaconne, an old form in classical music in which a basic progression repeats throughout the piece. I felt challenged and excited by the austerity and drama inherent in the form. Successive repetitions contain variation and building tension even as the underlying structure comes back over and over.
The second movement was inspired by my friend Daphne Gerling, the violist and singer who was to premiere the piece. Something more lyrical seemed right for Daphne. The tune for the Cantilena came to me while I was standing on a dusty dirt road between fields at a second cousin's farm in Michigan. My extended family was gathered together around picnic tables nearby, eating macaroni and cheese, ham, and many varieties of Jello salad. A few had come from faraway places like Florida and California; we had come from Ohio; but most were from the area; in fact there is a road named for this branch of the family that stretches through the rural counties outside of Ann Arbor. I was mostly accustomed to more urban environments, and I enjoyed the sound of the breeze, the shades of green, brown, and sky-blue, and all the space around me. I think there is some of this gentleness and spaciousness in the tune of the Cantilena.