• Justin Connolly
  • Celebratio super Ter in lyris Leo, Op. 29/II (1994)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • acn/3va
  • 10 min

Programme Note

Celebratio super Ter in lyris Leo is scored for three violas, with accordion; the violas play thirteen short sections based on the anagram derived from the name of Lionel Tertis: “Ter in lyris leo”, which means “The lion is thrice present in the instruments”. The accordion plays music derived from the name itself: its role is that of an independent commentary on the viola music, rather than an accompaniment, since its twelve sections and their tempi are quite differently shaped, and never coincide. The difference between these two kinds of music is as great at that between the name and the anagram; the form of the music is entirely determined by the relation between them, which affects all aspects of the work, whether in terms of duration, register or pitch choice.

At a certain point in the piece, the accordion is silent for 30”; during that time, the player must move from one position, stage right, to another. The title Celebratio implies a certain ritualism, and the move takes place against the slowest music in the piece. The symbolism of “passing over” will be obvious in the context of a memorial work. It is dedicated to the memory of an artist who in his life made an unprecedentedly single-handed contribution to the establishment of his instrument in a solo role. The modern accordion now awaits its own Lionel Tertis.

Celebratio super Ter in lyris Leo was first performed on 23 February 2024, by Peter Sheppard Skærved (viola), Andrea Fages (viola), Adonis Lau (viola), and Alise Silina (accordion), at the Royal Academy of Music, London.