for viola and piano (2008)

World Premiere: Melia Watras, viola; Kimberly Russ, piano; October 28, 2008, Meany Theater, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Program Notes:
Flexible Parts is a set of seven short, interconnected movements made—in part—from what I would describe as rather simple, singable tunes. These tunes are flexible: they make guest appearances across the seven movements, combining and recombining, even though each movement has a distinct musical character and different emotional tenor. It might be interesting to note that these tunes often seem to appear to me more or less intact as part of my compositional process. Composing the whole context—the movements in which these tunes will sound—is a much more challenging part of the process, and one that involves a lot more paper and several more inches of my eraser. A simple tune can resonate in ways that are straightforward and light as well as in ways that are complicated and dark, and perhaps Flexible Parts is a way of trying to acknowledge that paradox. This piece involves high contrast, taking some sudden and dramatic turns. This contrast may be most readily apparent in the fact that the piano, large instrument that it is, is often used in a very minimal way, though with outbursts that acknowledge the full range and power of the instrument. I thank the wonderful violist, Melia Watras, for the chance to compose this new piece and to work with her.

—Anna Weesner

Anna Weesner: Flexible Parts for viola and piano (2008): I. Small Piece of the Story
Melia Watras, viola; Kimberly Russ, piano