Scott Slapin & Tanya Solomon | Violacentrism: The Opera

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Violacentrism: The Opera

by Scott Slapin & Tanya Solomon

The first official recording of Scott Slapin's Violacentrism: The Opera (an opera for two violas in one act), performed by the Slapin-Solomon Viola Duo.
Genre: Classical: Opera
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Violacentrism: Overture
Scott Slapin & Tanya Solomon
8:11 $0.99
2. Violacentrism: The Raging Waves of Babylon
Tanya Solomon
4:36 $0.99
3. Violacentrism: Tempo Instabile
Scott Slapin & Tanya Solomon
3:35 $0.99
4. Violacentrism: Cantabile e Furioso
Scott Slapin & Tanya Solomon
3:17 $0.99
5. Violacentrism: Cadenza ed Aria
Scott Slapin & Tanya Solomon
3:11 $0.99
6. Violacentrism: Music History 101 At 9 AM: Five Centuries in Five Minutes
Scott Slapin & Tanya Solomon
5:32 $0.99
7. Violacentrism: The Sounds of Hampshire County
Scott Slapin & Tanya Solomon
4:23 $0.99
8. Violacentrism: Violist Under the Roof
Scott Slapin & Tanya Solomon
4:18 $0.99
9. Violacentrism: Finale
Scott Slapin & Tanya Solomon
5:49 $0.99
10. Violacentrism: Encore Finale for Viola Ensemble
The Penn State Viola Ensemble
6:25 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"At around forty-three minutes in length, Scott Slapin's Violacentrism - The Opera runs head to head alongside Harold in Italy as the longest viola joke ever. But then, as opposed to the latter, this really is a joke, and one of a particularly elaborate and subtle kind....With this CD, Scott Slapin and Tanya Solomon have unsurprisingly set the bar extremely high for any violists wishing to try their hands at the score." - The Journal of the American Viola Society (Carlos Maria Solare, Volume 32, No 2)

Violacentrism: The Opera

An Opera For Two Violas In One Act by Scott Slapin. (Premiere performances took place April 22 and April 24, 2015 in South Hadley and Amherst, Massachusetts.)

"No singers. No staging. Just violas."

The viola is the closest instrument in quality and register to the human voice. It is also capable of producing many of the effects of the rest of the orchestra. My opera is unusual in that it endeavors to cover all vocal and orchestral lines solely on two (2) violas. 'Opera' is the Latin plural of 'opus', meaning simply a collection of related works and doesn't refer to singing at all. Violacentrism, written between Summer 2014 and Winter 2015, is actually quite traditional in form; there is an overture, several arias, and a finale. Just no singers. But you can hear them in the violas.

-Scott Slapin


Day 1: The Raging Waves of Babylon

Day 2: Three Arias (Tempo Instabile, Cantabile e Furioso, Cadenza ed Aria)

Day 3: Music History 101; Five Centuries in Five Minutes

Day 4: The Sounds of Hampshire County (Leaving Northampton, Snow-covered Farmland in Hadley, Stamell Strings' 4-measure cameo, The National Yiddish Book Center, Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley)

Day 5: Violist Under the Roof

Day 6: Dialogues and Duels (Finale)

-Scott Slapin and Tanya Solomon, violas

Encore Finale recording by The Penn State Viola Ensemble

The Penn State Viola Ensemble (under the direction of Tim Deighton):

David Phillips (soloist), Micah Albrycht, Sylvia Biscoveanu, Joe Cosgrove, Angela D'Alotto, Leah Frederick, Greg Glessner, Lucia Hernandez, Ryan Kohler, Ruben McFarlane, Erik Petersen, John Roxburgh, and Lauren Taylor.

Cremonus, God of the Viola, is displeased at man's creation of other musical instruments. On the First Day Cremonus punishes mankind with rough seas. His message is ignored; the people are using Dramamine.

By the Second Day, an ill-tempered Cremonus has only contempt for the many viola-free ensembles of the land. During the first of three dramatic arias, Cremonus continues His assault on the seas. The second aria explores His anger, agitation, and sadness; Cremonus' patience is wearing thin. In the third aria Cremonus adds lashing high winds to His ongoing war with the sea.

Following the rousing third aria, it dawns on Cremonus that few potential viola players live on the sea.

The Third Day finds Cremonus in a more restful and pedagogical mood. After a hymn to Himself, He demonstrates to mankind the many abilities of the viola in all major genres of Western art music, from the Baroque to the Romantic. Cremonus feels mankind is beginning to understand the greatness of His Chosen Instrument.

The Fourth Day has Cremonus showing violists around Hampshire County, Massachusetts, in the Happy Valley, an area of which He is particularly fond. Starting out from the main square in Northampton (Cremonus finds the crossing signal to be particularly pleasing when performed on the viola), Cremonus leads a group of viola players out of town to see the snow-covered farmlands of Hadley and then to try out a few violas at Stamell Strings in Amherst.

Cremonus and the group check out a possible concert venue at the National Yiddish Book Center and finally make their way to the stately campus of South Hadley's Mt. Holyoke College, where Scott Slapin, coincidentally the composer of this opera, teaches several viola students. (Scott Slapin and Tanya Solomon also teach viola and violin in several other locations in the Happy Valley as well as worldwide online via Skype. Please visit our site for more information. Cremonus approves this message.)

On the Fifth Day, Cremonus and the violists return to the National Yiddish Book Center to perform Cremonus' favorite Musical Violist Under the Roof. Cremonus, in compliance with OSHA standards, would not let them perform on the roof. The violists finish the concert with a Klezmer version of the theme from Masterpiece Theater, demonstrating that almost any tune can be turned into Klezmer music by simply changing the key signature.

On the Sixth Day all the happiness of the valley is interrupted. The violists of Happy Valley, MA and Happy Valley, PA come into contact, and it's just too much happiness to last. A duel ensues, and a thoroughly frustrated Cremonus leaves the stage. The curtain falls as the two groups of viola players try to outdo one another in a contest of three-octave scales.

On the Seventh Day, Cremonus, the violists, and the audience rested. Amen.

Scott Slapin plays on a Hiroshi Iizuka viola from Philadelphia, PA.
Tanya Solomon plays on a Marten Cornelissen from Northampton, MA.

Tracks 1-9 recorded on the afternoon of June 22, 2015 at Cellar Dweller Productions (Larry Bentley, recording engineer)
Track 10 recorded on April 20, 2015 in Studio A at the Penn State School of Music (Robert Klotz, recording engineer)



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