I wrote this piece (Viola and Piano) for Brett Walfish and below is a recording of its premiere performance at the Staller Center for the Arts, Stonybrook Unviversity, New York on the 23rd of April 2016.
The piece is in three movements and is performed by Brett Walfish on the Viola with accompaniment from Matthieu Cognet on the piano.
I will update this page with video of the performance when it is available to me.
Feeling, Thinking, to the Frozen Sea is a work in three movements on the theme of mental distress. The two outer movements take a narrative approach to the theme, forming something akin to a tone poem, but with no set text forcing the music to work against itself. The first movement describes the atmosphere in a fictional therapy session, with the viola playing the part of the patient and the piano playing the part of the therapist, modulating the patient’s outbursts and encouraging communication. The second movement is more energetic and paints an impression of troubled neural networks firing away in an anxious brain. The final movement is something of a compromise between the first two. The ‘frozen sea’ mentioned in the work’s title is an image the fictional patient uses (in the romantic branch of our narrative) to overcome his particular difficulties. He imagines himself in a small boat being slowly and inexorably carried away from the shore by swollen and unmerciful waves. The protagonist’s feelings of loss and sadness reach their nadir and at that moment his sadness freezes the water around him, locking the waves in place so that he might now climb over the frozen waves and get back to the shore.