The Moments Before

viola, piano

2013

Premiered by Peter Sulski and Matthew Jaskot on November 5, 2013 in Worcester, MA

About the Piece

The Moments Before was composed in the summer of 2013 for Peter Sulski.  The title is not a reference to anything specific but instead alludes to the gamut of emotional states that one may undergo in the moments leading up to an important event, such as calm, anxiety, adrenaline rushes, etc.  The piece, in three large sections, includes moments of lyrical melody, resonant harmony, allusions of tonality, whispering harmonics, pointillistic textures and primal rhythmic vamps.  The highly ornamented viola solo of the first section rises from the depths of the instrument in three stages.  The line is accompanied by atmospheric piano harmonies.  There is no definitive pulse until the viola iterates melodic idea­­­s in harmonics toward the end of the section.  The middle of the piece begins after a transition and introduces a regular puls­­­­­­e, albeit irregularly grouped.  This section includes rapid exchanges of ideas and colors, arpeggios that dart from low to high or vice versa and pitches that become fixed in register.  A vamp in 13 signals the beginning of the energetic final section, which has the viola and piano trading roles as melody (often improvisatory in style) and accompaniment before driving repetitive rhythms bring the piece to a close.  

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The Moments Before - excerpt from the middle
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The Moments Before - excerpt from the end
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