“Composition for Solo Viola” explores the gradual growth of material from a single note to long chains of gestures. The soft opening sound, which returns throughout the piece, delineates each of the sections, allowing for clear perception of the process of expansion. Each new section of the piece is generated by overlaying the previous two sections, in such a way so as to expand the material both in time and spatially. “Composition for Solo Viola” was written for and is dedicated to Justine Goode.
This work has been chastised as a mere Bartók pastiche. While this remains true, I do not think it should be so easily dismissed. Keep in mind that it was written by a 21-year-old, and as such, I believe, shows a fair degree of maturity. It borrows and adapts Hungarian melodies (I have subsequently forgotten which) taken from one of Bartók’s myriad collections.