List of Works || Tremologue for Solo Viola

Tremologue for Solo Viola (1987)

1. Slow, 2. Slow and Sustained, 3. Plaintively, 4. With Nervous Agitation, 5. Slow, 6. Lamenting, 7. Slow, 8. Fast and Joyful, 9. Slow, 10. Slow and Turbulent, 11. Slow and Sustained, 12. Slow and Meditative, 13. Slow and Sustained, 14. Very Fast and Vigorous


Duration: 17 minutes, 30 seconds

First Performance: 10 February 1989; Toronto; Rivka Golani

Weinzweig’s only work for solo viola was commissioned by violist Rivka Golani, with the assistance of the Canada Council. Weinzweig summarises the work:

The title embodies the central characteristics of the piece—the tremulous tremolo and the dialogue. The latter adds a duo dimension to the solo viola through sequential variations by means of double stops, registration, colour and dynamics. The work is cast in the form of an assemblage of fourteen segments on a succession of contrasting relationships. Yet, by means of a stylistic binding of recurring segments and the tremolo, its seemingly random course may be formed by the listener into a cohesive whole. Some of the segments are separated by short pauses. Others continue immediately into the next. The final and longest segment is a coda that recalls previously heard motifs—now fused into a fast and vigorous climax.

Tremologue’s collection of short segments rather than long movements is typical of Weinzweig’s music in the 1970s and 80s. Though no section is repeated, sections 5, 7, and 9 are quite similar, and, as Weinzweig notes above, tremolo figures help create cohesion. Tremologue allows the violist to explore the beauty and warmth of the instrument through the mostly slow and contemplative sections.

Written by Alexa Woloshyn