‘Tides of Mananan’ was commissioned by the Mananan Festival Trust for the 1988 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition with funds provided by the Isle of Man Government, Department of Tourism. Several soloists have since taken it into their repertoire, most notably Rivka Golani, who performed in London and at the Edmonton Festival of New Music in Canada.

In the words of the composer, “The Gaelic name of Mananan Mac Lir means Mananan, son of the sea. He was a great hero in Irish mythology and his magical powers are also well-known in Manx folklore. He had power over the sea, understood tides and could foretell storms. Manx fishermen would call for his blessing before they sailed. He used his magic art to protect the island against its enemies by drawing a cloak of mist over it. Mananan was also known as a ferocious giant and a warrior of incredible strength and violent temper.”

Paul Patterson cleverly creates the magical character of Mananan by using a variety of techniques: quick changes of mood are often achieved through changes of tempo; the use of tremolo and harmonics within piano or pianissimo; a wide range of string colours, accents and chords; and the bubbling bounce of the triplet semiquavers. The general shape of this short bravura work is one of gradually increasing momentum.

Details

Written 1987

Solo Viola
Length 7

Commission: Commissioned as the Test piece for the Isle of Mann Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition of July 1988
Dedication: ‘To Sir David Lumsden for his sixtieth birthday’
Publisher: Josef Weinberger

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