According to tradition, a mid- or late-19th century instrumental Romance - or Romanza - is a shortish composition of predominantly melodic nature, with a slight leaning toward the sentimental. In several European languages, such as German, French, and Danish, the word for navel, i.e., an unfolding drama in writing, is Roman, and although there's nothing literary about my Six Romances for viola and piano, each piece tells its own story open to individual inner interpretation.
Portal forms the opening chapter, so to speak, paving the way for the second movement, named Even Song. Maybe it's just a simple tune heard at sunset, perhaps the melody is carried from far away, over the hills from inside the village church...
Titles such as, Ballad, and Dirge (song of mourning) immediately reveal the nature and mood of the music to come, where-as the concluding piece Duet is slightly more 'mysterious.'
In a classic duet the two instruments in question, or more likely voices complement each other benevolently. In the present case, however, the viola and the piano both stand firm, protection their own turf - and - 'the twain shall never meet!'
The piece is very short indeed, it just stops, leaving the listener to finish the 'story' in his or her own imagination. A true open ending.
- Poul Ruders