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Especially effective was the relaxation from the galloping rhythmic impetus of the first movement (pointed up by prominent bass and side drum) to the calmer chordal textures of the reflective slow movement, where again orchestral felicities abounded, beguiling woodwind and harp, with touches of glistening sunlight in the solo violin and solo cello, over which the solo viola's initial theme reappears in a more lyrical guise; a new pizzicato variant of the theme for the strings is introduced, with sustained strands and tremolando textures by the solo viola creating an arresting canvas, which eventually picks up the energy of the faster variant of the theme. Yet it is the cadenza which forms the expressive heart of the work, announced by the tam-tam, and which showed Meyouhas' skill as a violist in three phases, a searching chordal exposition, a two part polyphonic development with some incisive dissonant counterpoint, and the final lyrical reverie, only to be gently interrupted by delicately resonant chimes and bells, awakening into a transition to the final, fast movement.

Here the initial motifs are coloured by blurry harmony and evocative gestures, such as the solo cello dialogue with viola again. The renewed energy also benefits from the jazzy influence of the dance, interspersed with more sustained sections for the viola's soloistic excursions. Here the sense of momentous tension of the work's opening is transformed into a mood of exuberance, yet the work concludes with the dissonant clash at the heart of the main motif still unresolved, in a state of suspense. It is a work which displays the well crafted aspect of the younger generation of Israeli composers, sharing with many an aesthetic concern with drama and unpredictability, and which communicates with considerable neo-romantic immediacy.

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Copyright © 13 May 2008 Malcolm Miller, London UK


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