JAVS Summer 2023

Example 8: Beginning of “Prestissimo con sordino” by György Ligeti. 11

Example 9: Beginning of Violin Sonata op. 5 no. 6, III. Allegro by A. Corelli. 12

“Prestissimo con sordino ,” like “ Hora lungă,” is one of the more Hungarian-sounding movements of the sonata. It is a three-page tightrope of a perpetual motion, and more than anything, I can imagine a Roma violinist shredding something similar in a bar in Miskolc. Hungarian music, however, did not fit the mold of my brief. Instead, I found a breathless Corelli movement from his Violin Sonata op. 5 no. 6. Corelli’s Sonata is for violin and continuo, but I found several recordings by respected early musicians that perform it solo, so I took that as permission to do the same. Perpetual motion movements have been a staple throughout music history, making this one of the easiest movements to pair because of the quantity of options. Prestissimo is relentless for three pages, and I chose this Corelli movement because it has a similar, single-breath quality.

Movement 5, “ Lamento ,” was one of the most difficult to find a companion for. The title “Lamento” evokes baroque opera (Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas has a famous example), and Ligeti uses a classic descending line for this movement. The melody here is similar to several of Ligeti’s other works, including the “ Lamento” movement in his Horn Trio. Part of the reason this movement was so difficult to pair, is that the grief is laced with rage. The opening is an aggressive melody of 2nds and 7ths, with a tempo marking of Tempo giusto, intenso e barbaro , and a dynamic marking of subito: fff con tutta la forza, feroce. This is contrasted later with sul tasto flautando and false harmonic passages, with each timbral section punctuated by rests.

Example 10: Beginning of “Lamento.” 13

Journal of the American Viola Society / Vol. 39, Summer 2023 Online Issue


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