for narrator and viola (2017)
 Photo by Melia Watras

Photo by Melia Watras


World Premiere:
Atar Arad, narrator; Melia Watras, viola; March 28, 2018, Seattle, WA

Duration: 4:17

Program Notes:
The text for Viola comes from Atar Arad, who explains: “In 1996 we had a box full of separate words with a magnet, to hang on the fridge door. I whimsically hung the words on the door, liked the results, and copied down the ‘poem.’ I added only a few words, such as ‘horsehair’ and the title (there wasn't, of course, any ‘viola’ in the box).”

In the spirit of the creation of the text, I had fun generating some of the pitch material for the viola part, using a cryptogram system based on one created by Arthur Honneger. I spelled out words related to the text, as well as Atar’s name (and his nom de plume, Arthur Iron!).

Viola is part of my Folk Style Project.

—Melia Watras



An elaborate picture of essential love
Crushing into thousand frantic whispers
As we manipulate through bare roads
Worshiping some sad moments
Tiny lies smeared about as rusty beauty

Wicked witch
My queen of the night
Waxed old skin beneath a gorgeous dress
A dark symphony of mean shadows
Pounding me with mad music
And your enormous lust

Move your anxious fingers
Wag your horsehair tail
Play the sordid fiddle
Moan an ugly chant

Your aimless melodies
Songs of love and grief
With no strings attached

True love is behind and above
Life and death
And sweet dreams

—Arthur Iron (1996)

© 1996 by Atar Arad