'Ombra', my viola concerto, consists of several sections linked together to form a large, one movement design, lasting 18-20 minutes. The solo part is in essence a long and endlessly varied narrative. It starts on its long journey, which embraces the full technical vocabulary of the instrument, to arrive at last quietly, in the extreme high register, at the end of the concerto.
After a thoughtful and rhapsodic opening, the soloist enters with an extended and virtuosic cadenza, with the orchestra becoming fully involved in restless and harmonically dense scale passages. A slow meditative passage follows, with the viola singing and whistling high harmonics, leading to a section of fast and furious double stops, showing the more masculine side of the instrument, and moving inexorably to the main climax of the work and a quiet extended coda.
The orchestra for the most part plays a subsidiary role, providing a constantly shifting "harmonic scenery", often dense and divided into many individual parts, which always aims at enhancing the poetic and dramatic nature of the solo part.
© Haflidi Hallgrímsson