for Viola and Piano

Romance? started its life as a short violin piece that I was writing as a thank you for the kindness and hospitality of some good friends in Germany. (It still bears a dedication to "Ursula and J├╝rgen, Manfred and Marietta" for this reason.) However, as often happens, what one intends at first isn't necessarily what the music wants to do. About half a year of wrestling with it later, the piece had become a fairly substantial work for viola and piano:

For audio only, click here.

People often ask about the title. As far as I can remember, it comes from thinking about the concept of romanticism in music, and what it means for music to be romantic. The piece begins in a thoroughly late-romantic idiom, but from there it veers sharply in another direction, and a drama of conflicting styles unfolds. Romanticism as a style plays a pretty major role in this piece, almost as though the style itself were a central character.

That said, several people have told me that the title suggested to them a different kind of romantic narrative, and have wondered if perhaps this piece chronicled a passionate relationship from my past. I honestly prefer this backstory, and, given how much the process of composing takes place on a subconscious level, perhaps there's some truth to it.

Thank Yous

Thanks so much to Jordan for all her time and effort learning and consulting with me about the piece. Thanks also to Fernando Rincon-Estrada and Gabriela Goldberg for their work on the recording and video.

Finally, Joel Feigin, my teacher at the time at UC Santa Barbara, was a huge moral and compositional support as I was writing this. This was a very challenging piece for me to write, and I owe Joel a huge debt of gratitude for helping me navigate its challenges. Thanks Joel!