• Justin Connolly
  • Celebratio, per viola sola, Op. 29/IV (2005)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • va
  • 10 min

Programme Note

Composer’s Note

Justin Connolly wrote Celebratio, per viola sola in 2005 as a 60th birthday gift for the eminent translator David McDuff. Connolly and McDuff often played the duo repertoire for viola and piano together; of the repertoire for solo viola, McDuff recalls that Connolly was particularly interested in the Reger solo suites Op. 131d and the Hindemith solo sonata Op. 25 No. 1.

Connolly had already in 1994-5 written a Celebratio super Ter in lyris Leo for three violas and accordion, in memory of Lionel Tertis. Despite sharing an opus number, basic title and central instrument, the later work appears to be otherwise musically unrelated. Its tightly argued structure and lyrical (while energetic) character is surely a tribute to the “talented artist, learned in both literature and musical skill” who is the work’s dedicatee.

The work is concerned with the interplay of contrasting material both within and across the three movements. The music has a lyrical quality, with melody – even if this is not always melody in the ‘cantabile’ sense – prominent, in preference to percussive or fragmented textures. Dynamics are generally graduated rather than pointillistic, underpinning the ebb and flow of phrase structures. Where shorter gestures predominate, these generally coalesce into extended passages of expressive melodic writing, which lead towards the climactic points in the work.

Celebratio, per viola sola lasts approximately 10 minutes.

Andrew McBirnie