Commissioned by Tim Senior
First performed by Tim Senior (viola), YouTube, 4 May 2020
First live performance by Katie Yap (viola), Canberra International Music Festival, Juliet Room, Verity Lane Market, Canberra, 3 May 2023
When the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, the viola-playing GP Tim Senior emailed to ask if he might commission a solo piece from me. He was bound to catch the virus, he said, and would like something to practise in his isolation. He reminded me that he was an amateur, but said he would appreciate a challenge. I told him to name his price.
In My Solitude borrows its title from Duke Ellington, but nearly all the notes are taken, in order (though sped up and with a new rhythm), from Henry Purcell’s song ‘O Solitude, My Sweetest Choice’.
Thanks to a combination of masks, vaccines and caution, Dr Senior never did succumb to the virus, but he learnt the piece and posted a video of himself playing it on YouTube.