Malphas for Solo Viola (2015)
Malphas is a study of medieval instrumental dance music, particularly of the Italian “Istampitta,” combined with an emphasis on modal dissonance and linear structure. The title refers to Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy’s 1818 Dictionnaire Infernal which details a demon wielding power over castles and architecture, Malphas. Inspired by the structure of medieval arched windows, the piece forms melodic, harmonic, and formal arches throughout, most prominently noted in the opening and closing improvisatory sections. The motivic content of the dance consists of rhythmic emphasis on dissonant intervals, masked slightly by the surrounding modal characteristics and altered string tunings.