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Donald WomackBlue Ridge Seasons (viola concerto)1. Summer Solstice 2. Autumn Serenade 3. Shenandoah Snow 4. Blue Ridge Springviola and chamber orchestra (2222 2 hn 2 tpt 2 prc strings)25:002018
A viola concerto in four movements, Blue Ridge Seasons paints a musical portrait of a region that is very special to me, the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia and the Carolinas, where I was born and raised. Each season in the Blue Ridge has its own distinct beauty, from the lush greenness of summer that becomes a stunning canvas of color in fall, to the quiet still of winter that gives way to the buzz of life re-emerging in spring.

The piece draws extensively on musical elements of the region. Bluegrass-tinged Southern Solstice opens the work with the heat of mid-summer, as soloist and orchestra exchange energetic rhythmic motives. With its singing Appalachian-esque melodies the lyrical second movement, Autumn Serenade, is at turns plaintive and joyous, much like the season it depicts. Shenandoah Snow pauses to reflect, its muted calm suggesting the hushed, almost ethereal tones of winter in the forest. The cycle completes itself with the vitality of Blue Ridge Spring and its raw fiddling gestures, blooming ever more intensely to the blazing finish.

Blue Ridge Seasons is based in part on an earlier work, Blue Ridge Dreams, for violin and contrabass. The concerto was commissioned by Peter Askim and the Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra for violist Ralph Farris, and is dedicated to Don, Judy, Vicki and Wendi — my Blue Ridge family.