Knowing that we were going to be in Italy, we began to study the Italian language. I discovered Tasso in my twenties, and one of my earliest compositions that I still like is four settings of Tasso poems.
I got deeper into Italian and viola, and decided to write an Italian text and set it to music with a prominent viola part, like Morton Feldman's "Rothko Chapel." I ended up writing "Per il rinoceronte nero" for chorus, soprano solo, viola, bass clarinet, bass drum, vibraphone, xylophone, and tubular bells. I had help from my viola teacher here in Italy, Valentina Rebaudengo.
We have been busy seeing things and trying to understand Italian culture better, so I have done very little composing since we arrived. However, I wrote a short piece for solo viola than I like, and I arranged it for my friend Chris Hills, a wonderful clarinetist who lives in the Chicago area.
I am posting both scores below.