for Viola and Ensemble

22 Mins
Solo Vla-Picc-Mrmba-Hp-Str(


Composed for violist Maximillian Baillie and the Aurora Orchestra, the work charts the life cycle of a violist who metamorphoses into a dancer.

First performed at the 2012 Deal Festival, conducted by Nicholas Collon with choreography by Mickael Marso Riviére.

Chapter 1: the birth of Max

Chapter 2: Dialogue, in which Max makes his first sound

Chapter 3: in which the infant Max is gently rocked to sleep

Chapter 4: Dialogue, in which Max starts to find a voice

Chapter 5: in which Max grows up and flies the nest

Chapter 6: in which, for a moment, Max looks back

Chapter 7: in which Max loses his bow

Chapter 8: Monologue, in which Max works out a plan

Chapter 9: in which Max makes good without the bow

Chapter 10: Max remembering

Chapter 11: in which Max comes to accept his new life

Chapter 12: Following Max’s footsteps


A ‘poem’ that runs without a break; the music is a variation-stream though one that develops, evolves, expands. It falls into two parts with the choreographic movement introduced at the end of Part One.

The piece explores Viola’s journey from birth, through childhood into adulthood. At the end of Part One, Viola reaches the door to an adult life; in Part Two, Viola encounters a wider world of experience where Viola grows, develops and is changed. At the close of the piece, Viola has achieved a kind of inner strength through experience and is ready to deal with whatever life might bring.

Viola might be human. Viola might be a bird or an animal. Or just a musician. The piece can play with all these possible meanings.


Part One - Rites of Passage

Viola is born in an ensemble of musicians, out of a kind of sleep. A lullaby gently rocks Viola. Viola is allowed to grow and we see/hear glimpses as Viola makes first sounds and takes first steps. Gradually, Viola grows up, testing energy and feeling. Viola stands on two feet and is ready to fly the nest into a wider world outside of the ensemble.


Part Two - Innocence to experience

A set of dances unfold Viola’s encounters with this wider world - Viola continues to learn and grow. Unexpected events deprive Viola of bow, and then instrument. Viola fights with these changes and circumstances, but gradually re-finds a voice, achieving inner strength and confidence. At the close of the piece, Viola has found self-acceptance, and the courage and wisdom to accept whatever life might bring.


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