Night-Voiced (2011) by Mark Winges
for viola and piano

A viola, night-voiced, calls into its past but nothing comes.
—Carolyn Forché

This precise and haunting image from Carolyn Forché's Blue Hour serves as a springboard for this single-movement fantasy. The piece is in several sections, with the opening material returning in various guises throughout. Although the entire range of the viola is used, the sound is anchored by the passages on the C-string. To my ear, that is one of the most unique timbres in all of the string instruments.

An interesting concept behind (or outside) the piece is its existence in two "versions" — one with organ and one with piano. Although the viola has exactly the same music in both pieces, the accompanying keyboard part is radically different. Thus, there are two distinct but complimentary views of the same musical material.

The piece was originally written for my viola-centric chamber music CD Night-Voiced. While the viola / organ version has been performed, tonight marks the first live performance of the viola / piano version. The piece is dedicated to Ellen Ruth Rose, with affection and admiration.

— M. W.