From the recording Fast
Concerto in A minor for Viola and String Orchestra
The “Viola Concerto” by James Domine was composed at the request of the late Dr. Maurice Riley of East Michigan State University for performance at the International Viola Congress held at the University of Michigan in 1987. Domine subsequently revised the concerto for Nancy Roth, who gave the first performance of the final version in September of 2000 at a subscription concert of the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra with the composer conducting.
The work is cast in the traditional fast-slow-fast three-movement format associated with Baroque concerti, and is scored for viola solo with string orchestra accompaniment. The first movement is based on an Aeolian motive which shifts metrically between 4/4 and ¾ time, and features not one, but two solo cadenzas for the solo viola. The second movement is a graceful Renaissance dance with some rather unusual harmonic variations. The third movement is an expository juxtaposition of two main themes which are intertwined in a dialogue incorporating rhythms more commonly associated with Rock music of the 1960’s. The overall harmonic language has a modal rather than tonal feel and gives the piece a curiously modern sounding character within the context of the antique formal structure
This archival recording features Nancy Roth, violist with James Domine conductiong the San Fernando Valley Symphony orchestra.