Viola Sonata for viola and piano; George Walker
George Walker (1922-2018) was a leading composer of his time and the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. He studied at Oberlin Conservatory, Curtis Institute, and the Eastman School with such luminaries as Rudolf Serkin, William Primrose, and Gregor Piatigorsky, going on to teach at Rutgers University. He was comfortable writing in many styles--from twelve-tone to tonal, jazz to classical; however, his works all share an interest in motivic development and pervasive syncopation.
Walker's Sonata for Viola and Piano (1989) in two movements was his only work for the instrument. It is one of several of his works that use twelve-tone technique for tonal ends. It displays intelligent, complex construction throughout--yet retains a Stravinskian playfulness and appealing, expressive lines for the viola. Serious violists should take note of this formidable, thrilling gem of the repertory. For advanced players.