Introducing Voila Viola! Conductor, soloist and the composer of Viola Concerto No. 2

Anthony Ritchie – Composer of Viola Concerto No. 2

“My concerto is in 4 main movements – slow-fast-slow-fast – but they are all linked so that it is really one long movement”

In 2002 Tim Deighton made the first CD recording of my Viola Concerto No.1 with the Penn State Orchestra in the USA. Since then we stayed in touch and 15 years later Tim requested a new work for viola and orchestra. I decided it had to be concerto, but with a string orchestra only – this has long been a favourite medium of mine, but I have not had many opportunities to compose for it. The viola is an instrument that is close to my heart (my partner plays it from time to time, and now my daughter does too). It can be so expressive and somewhat melancholy on occasions but is also capable of dynamic, lively ideas. My concerto is in 4 main movements – slow-fast-slow-fast – but they are all linked so that it is really one long movement. It opens with a mysterious melodic shape that recurs through the piece. It is not a programmatic piece but has distinct moods that range from the sad and mournful (first movement) through to fast and fleeting (last movement ). There are occasional solos for viola but overall the emphasis is not on virtuosity but rather a strong relationship between soloist and orchestra.