Attack for solo viola, opus 23a (1990)
Attack is a short but virtuosic piece that was composed in 1990, for the violist Nicole Saintilan, as a remedy for that most pervasive and tragic of conditions: viola melancholia. Perhaps because of its register or its other innate qualities the viola’s repertoire seems largely made up of gloomy elegies and wimpy sad plaints. Attack was therefore written as a chance for a violist to behave like a real barbarian (a hidden wild streak not uncommonly being a character trait of violists) and to leave tender emotion elsewhere in the program. If I say that the piece was originally a snippet for e flat clarinet called After Figaro and that Attack had a provisional subtitle of After After Figaro you may see a few connections which may hint at this being a rude gesture in the direction of at least one long dead – but, alas, never to be forgotten – composer.
© Andrew Schultz, 1990