In the opening section of the Viola Sonata themes initiated by the viola and imitated by the piano become increasingly more agitated and fragmented, building up to a powerful fortissimo climax. Fresh material appears in the rhetorical middle section, which leads to a sombre Adagio (mysterious glissandos in artificial harmonics and pizzicato for viola) and a shortened recapitulation. In the second movement the viola sings quietly in upper registers and more sonorously on the lower strings, the meditative, forlorn aspects of its character perfectly caught in the music. The finale opens with a furious outburst of scales and repeated-note figures, but forward movement is momentarily halted by a fragment of a ghostly march. Viola and piano return to the fray; the pace slackens, and the viola remembers first-movement mysteries in a brooding adagio before the final prestissimo brings reminiscences to an abrupt end.
from notes by Hugo Cole © 1988