About this work

Penderecki's dramatic "Cadenza for Solo Viola", approximately 7 minutes in duration, was created in 1984 as an appendix to his "Concerto for Viola and Orchestra" of 1983. Penderecki again utilizes his favorite slow-fast-slow arcing structure, used in his "String Trio", "The Interrupted Thought for String Quartet", and other shorter chamber works. A chromatic two-note downward sighing figure, quoted from the Viola Concerto" opens the cadenza. This is developed in successively larger ranges, with multiple stops and ascending passages. The two-note figure turns into a blazing on-rush of triplets. An energetic and intense gigue-like middle section follows, with fast pedal point alternations à la J.S. Bach's unaccompanied partitas for solo strings. An impassioned and beautifully developed section built of suspended multiple stops very gradually ritards in tempo and density back to the opening Lento. An eerie melody played all in harmonics over an open G string pedal point appears at the end, just before the two chromatic tones are reiterated leading back into the Concerto, or the beginning of this Cadenza when it is performed alone.