Composed in 2011 for violist Brett Deubner, Amanda Harberg’s Concerto for Viola and Orchestra is in three movements.
The first movement, Allegro Maestoso, is a meditation on flight. The two trumpets that introduce the work evoke a pair of eagles perched high in the trees; then the wind of an orchestral arpeggio carries us to the viola soloist, who introduces the main soaring theme of the movement. A dance-like middle section, full of playful acrobatics and interactions between the viola and the orchestra, comes to a climax as the main soaring melody re-enters, this time in sweeping counterpoint with the secondary dance-like theme. The cadenza develops the opening theme and resolves with the eagles quickly and powerfully racing up into the sky.