A Latvian Viola d’amore Concerto in New York


I came across the Music of the Latvian Composer Anna Viesmanev while performing the world premiere of the Concerto for Viola and String Orchestra “Serenata de La Luna” by Costa Rican Composer Carlos Castro in New York City. This was at the final Concert of the 2013 Season of the North/South Consonance Chamber Orchestra under Max Lifchitz. As part of this program was the premiere of a

Concerto for Accordion and Chamber Orchestra by Anna Viesmanev. In her Accordion concerto, Anna combined the colors of the solo instrument and the string orchestra creating unique, beautiful and expressive sound events. I was completely immerse in the musical discourse and the development of the piece, I found it fascinating.

Talking to Anna after the concert I told Anna that I also play the Viola d’amore, then she told me that she was in the process of finishing a concerto for the Viola d’amore & Strings commission by the “I Solisti Veneti” in Italy. After this conversation, North/South Consonance and Max Lifchitz became interested in performing the Viola d’amore Concerto for their 2014 season.

I strongly recommend this work to the viola d’amore players. It was a great experience to perform it and a vey beautiful work. In the introduction section, there are expressive passages that go from the viola d’amore into the orchestra and back. These expressive lines use the richness of the lower and the upper register of the instrument. There are some fast passages and a beautiful section with double stops in the middle section followed by a fugue in the last section of the work with materials of the introduction.

Anna explores all the possibilities of the instrument, its lyrical characteristics, uniqueness of sound, extended techniques and virtuosic passages. The textures in the score help to feature the Viola d’amore, which is never drown by the orchestra. There is also a triangle part, which highlights the expressive characteristics of the work.

The composer describes her Viola d’amore Concerto as follows:

“Music has a sensitive, moving and lively atmosphere, revealing the viola d’amore in various colors, ranging from a powerful low register to flying passages. I was inspired by the touching and saturated sound of the instrument.

     This is the renaissance of the harmony in my creative work. There is an interaction between harmony and polyphonic imitations, but over all – the tuning of the viola d’amore in D major, giving a bright and positive impression. This feeling is highlighted by the sound of the triangle.

   The Viola d’amore communicates with the orchestra as well as with individual instruments – viola, cello, double bass in the middle part, resembling the chamber music.

In general there is a three-part form with an introduction, which culminates at the end of a composition”.

Me & VeismaeAnna Viemanev studied at E. Darzin Music School. She studied under Peteris Vasks, Imants Zemzaries and later at the J. Vitols Latvian Music Academy with Romuadls Kalsons and Juris Kalsons. Il Solisti Veneti, the Latvian Symphony Orchestra, Liepaja Symphony Orchestra and the Concorde Contemporary Ensemble have performed her compositions among other groups.