Animas (There is a wild river...), viola ensemble, complete set
for Viola Ensemble, COMPLETE SET (score and parts: Violas 1, 2 and 3)
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As a composer and as a violist, I love the way an ensemble made up entirely of violas offers the potential for such a vast variety of different colors and textures built from the unique timbre of every individual viola. Yet the opportunity for violists to play in such an ensemble is fairly rare. So, when it does, it's an opportunity for a kind of intense delight and a spirit of concentrated play. As I began to explore these ideas in sketches, I learned of a wild river, the "Animas" (Spanish for "you animate") that runs southward from Silverton, CO into New Mexico and is popular with whitewater rafters. I imagined that a trip down this river might have much in common with the kind of experience I wanted to offer this ensemble of violists. And I liked the name Animas, which echoed the concept of "anima" - the unique inner spirit of each person. So this piece, composed for the Penn State Viola Ensemble, Tim Deighton, director, is written in a spirit of cooperative adventure with the river in mind with all its enveloping asymmetry, unpredictable sudden changes of direction, and moments of calm beauty, celebrating the powerful inner spirit of each violist who will animate this score. Duration c. 7 minutes.
-- Paul Seitz
The recent tragic spill of millions of gallons of toxic waste into the Animas river has changed the experience of this piece for me, especially since I was playing in a performance of it just as the spill occurred. But I hope that playing this piece can now be a positive way to confront the powerlessness felt in such circumstances, a way to remember the Animas as it was and to contemplate the fragility of every wild place.