For Solo Viola
April 30, 2016; Lauren Perala, viola; Hartford, CN
Circa 5 minutes
Contact me for performance materials.
When Lauren Perala approached me about writing a piece for her, I became incredibly excited about writing something for both her personality and her marvelous playing ability. After getting to know Lauren during my time at Butler University, I relished the opportunity to work with her again for this innovative viola commissioning project.
I wrote Dark Languages as a show piece for the viola. Often, the viola is relegated to easier fair to allow for more typical instruments to take the spotlight. I wanted to change that. Instead of the usual lyrical and awkwardly-delicate music given to the solo viola, I set out to write music that was wild and fantastic while showing off the capabilities of the instrument and player.
After finishing the piece, I spent a few weeks searching for an appropriate title. Finally, while reading House of Leaves (Mark Z. Danielewski), I stumbled upon a phrase which encompassed the wild and primitive nature of the notes on the page. This phrase ultimately became the piece's title.
- Michael Henson