Achille, Ajax & Moi (2008)

ballet imaginaire
for solo viola and viola orchestra

Sound sample: 

The title refers to the tales of Odysseus. The Greek hero who acts in the books of Homer, at a certain moment finds himself as a guest, finally in reach of his home, and here he is asked to tell his story, and his name. In the composition I pictured different episodes, told from the perspective of Odysseus, hence the ‘Moi’ (‘me’ in French) in the title.

As a matter of fact, I also included episodes from the Iliad, and the visit of the son to Menelaus’ residence. And I used the subject in a broad sense, finding inspiration in (of course) Homer and contemporary editions of the story, James Joyce’s Ulysses and On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

The commission was for the Amsterdam Viola Festival 2009, and a great opportunity it was for me! The famous soloist Nobuko Imai was to play the solo part, which meant that I did not have to feel restraint by any technical inconvenience for her part.

One can conceive the composition as an ‘imaginary ballet’, or a ‘suite’. I thought that for a ‘festival-piece’, colours, contrasts and playful movements would work best to display the beauty and strength of the viola.


solo viola and viola orchestra

commissioned by: 
NFPK+ for the Amsterdam Viola Festival 2009

first performance:
February 21, 2009
Nabuko Imai - viola
Amsterdam Viola Festival Orchestra 2009 conducted by Jürgen Kussmaul
website and photography (c) 2011 by maarten storm