Aria was composed for Tara Krug, concertmaster of the Messiah College Orchestra when I was their Music Director (1997-99). During these years, I was completing my doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania and serving as Assistant Conductor of the Harrisburg Symphony. The Messiah College Orchestra was still rather fledgling, and my scoring reflects the forces then available: one each of flute, clarinet, and bassoon, solo violin, and strings (without double basses). Aria shared a program with the 13-instrument version of Copland’s Appalachian Spring Suite; the double bassist we hired to complete his roster doubled my second cello part (it can be performed that way if desired).
Aria is a simple song for violin with chamber orchestra; the solo part is not virtuosic but requires a strong, singing tone. It is a rare example in my music of a relatively thoroughgoing modal tonality (G lydian); a contrasting middle section is in A major/minor. I am quite fond of the tune heard at the outset and repeated later on, with a simple extension to its second climax that allows the violin access to its highest, sweetest register.
A transcription exists and can be played by any combination of flute/violin with piano/organ.