for solo viola (2003)

World Premiere: Melia Watras, viola; April, 2013, Lang Recital Hall, Hunter College, New York, NY

Program Notes:
Collines parmi étoiles... (Hills Among Stars...) was composed in 2003 for violist Melia Watras. It sprang from one concise dream-image, or rather dream-sequence: “a solitary figure addresses the hills and the hills respond.” What exactly this means should be a matter of individual experience for each player, but the makings of this scenario were with me in composing this piece: a starry sky, the lone questioner, the hills reaching into the vault of the sky, the old questions, the deep silence, and then: a response; from where, who knows? There is simply a feeling by the end of the piece that a boundary has been crossed, something has opened, and the relationship to “out there” has changed. The title is mine, and came with the initial fantasy; I liked the sound of it, its rhythm and internal rhyme. While there is no quotation in the work, its generative image must owe something to Ives (both the Unanswered Question and the second string quartet). The reference was cryptomnesiac on my part, but affectionate nonetheless.

—Andrew Waggoner

Andrew Waggoner: Collines parmi étoiles… for solo viola
Melia Watras, viola