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Sonata for Solo Viola (2014) is a reworking of three Brazilian popular music forms.


Bossa Nova is a Brazilian genre created in the 1950s and popularized by João Gilberto. It typically has an understated, intimate sound, meant to be heard in small clubs and cafes. It is often described as a slowed-down, swaying samba rhythm with jazzy 7th and 9th chords.


Choro, a style of music that began in the late 19th century, could be compared to a Brazilian version of ragtime, full of playful syncopations. This is the most virtuosic movement, echoing Paganini in its full use of the viola capabilities.


Samba is an Afro-Brazilian genre that also has its roots in the 19th century. Samba de Morro means Samba of the Hills, and is the variety of samba that is particularly associated with Carnival. I imagined this piece as music heard by a listener listening to a samba school practicing from a distance. It begins and ends with an extended technique that imitates the sound of the cuica, a friction drum often used in Brazilian popular music.

Sonata for Solo Viola - score

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