isonata for viola and piano (2013)

Work dedicated to Jérémie Honnoré.


The departure of this piece is my passion for the viola and the desire to write a piece for this instrument. The viola therefore has an important role. It takes a special place in this score. The piano comes to “color” the voice of the viola and increase its dramatic intensity.

With isonata, I wanted to return not to the known forms of the classical sonata, but to come back to the starting point of this form which was “to provide an instrumental music with a musical equivalent to dramatic action in opera or concerto, by giving a clear definition of the outline of this action (a climax that is easy to identify, a point of maximum tension towards which the parts converge)” (Charles Rosen). I started from this idea of ​​contrasted musicals materials, of clarity of the form, in order to knead the “classical” sonata form.

In isonata, musically my postulate was to superimpose consonant chords (three sounds chords on left hand, three sounds chords on right hand) and use repetition and resonance in order to cut the time markers and work on the musical stream. On the basis of these two principles, i created the form and tension / relaxation of the score by stacking or subtracting musical material.

Then i increased the title “sonata” of the “i” which is nowadays perhaps an emblematic letter with the iphone, ipad, imac … I thought it could make sense with modernity. This letter “i” asked me the question in my creation, of the memory and especially the fact that our knowledge is now dependent on hard drives or other storage. We entrust our knowledge to our machines. This is troubling because we now learn more to look for than to remember.

Did not memory and language gradually anchor themselves in favor of our machines? It’s a bit like that in this work. The language in isonata is as atrophied but it retains all its strength and powerfull !!


1 viola 
1 piano 


duration 20′

premiere 18 july 2014, Sylvain Durantel viola, Emmanuel Christien piano // Festival Musique à la Ferme

published by Note en bulle Editions

commissioned by Festival Musique à la Ferme


Excerpt 1


Excerpt 2