The viola concerto



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This thesis describes the results of research in the areas of the history of the viola, the musical situations in which it was played, and a comprehensive listing of viola concertos. The status of the instrument in the nineteenth century decayed to a level where only the most unfortunate players could be compelled to play it. Consequently, composers wrote very unimportant and undemanding music for the instrument. Wagner began a revolution in status and quality of music accorded the viola and violists. This has culminated today in the instrument being a full- fledged and independent orchestral voice and a solo voice for which master works have been written. The deplorable state of the nineteenth-century violist was assumed to have been the condition since time immemorial. The recent interest in resurrecting old music, and very extensive research in the preparation of this paper, have largely borne this theory out, with the exception of some activity in the Classic period. While the useful technical possibilities of the violinist, cellist, and harpsichord-pianist grew consistently, the violist's development was stagnant until the 1920's. A surprisingly large catalogue of concerto titles has been accumulated, and a repertoire for further study suggested. The Annotated Bibliography is quite comprehensive.