Single-movement work for viola and piano, commissioned by violist Anne Lanzilotti for her master's recital at the Manhattan School of Music.
Longitude was composed in the waning months of 2012 and inspired by the playing of Anne Lanzilotti, with whom I had worked on the recording of Pied-a-terre, a work for flute, viola and harp which was released on Cursive, on Delos, in 2014. The piece is in a single movement and provided a break and contrast to the composition of “Olympus Mons”, a large-scale three-movement symphony that I had worked on for the past 18 months.
Though not programmatic in any traditional sense of the word, the title refers to one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time, making more accurate navigation possible for subsequent generations. Combined with latitude, this invisible coordinate grid covers our planet. As to how the title might relate to the musical content here, it only has to do with the orientation and middle-range stability that the viola brings, grounded as it is by its rich and low C string. That note, anchoring some low chords in the viola’s solo entry, provides the inspiration for most of the material of the entire piece. The piece concludes with the same level of mystery with which it began. Anne Lanzilotti and Juan Carlos Fernandez-Nieto gave the premiere in March 2013 at the Manhattan School of Music and have since performed it on two other occasions, later performing the piece at Carnegie Hall.