Return to Solo Works
Return to Chamber Music
Return to Works

Incantation (1995)

For solo violin
[Also a version for solo viola]
[Also a version for solo cello]

Commissioned and premiered by Catherine Tait in Rochester, NY in 1995
Viola version was premiered by Colin Belisle on 18 June 2006, at the New England Conservatory, Boston, MA
Cello version was premiered by Mihai Marica on 6 December 2016, at the Harris Theater in Chicago.
Duration: 5 minutes

Version for solo violin


Version for solo viola


Version for solo cello


BUY SCORE (for solo viola)
BUY SCORE (for solo violin)
BUY SCORE (for solo cello)

CD Available

This work is available on Routes of Evanescence

Prairie Sketches

This work is available on
Prairie Sketches

American Weavings

This work is available on
American Weavings

Blooming Sounds: Works for Unaccompanied Violin

This work is available on
Blooming Sounds: Works for Unaccompanied Violin

Going Solo: Unaccompanied Works for Violin & Viola

This work is available on
Going Solo: Unaccompanied Works for Violin & Viola


Augusta Read Thomas: Incantation. Ariana Kim, violin

Program Note

Incantation for solo violin, composed in 1995, is one of the earliest works by Augusta Read Thomas which has not been withdrawn by the composer. It also represents a snap shot into Augusta's long love affair with the strings, and the violin in particular, an instrument for which she has composed many works (some withdrawn, others published by G. Schirmer) including: Spirit Musings for solo violin and chamber orchestra, and Rumi Settings for violin and cello.

Incantation was composed for Cathryn Tait, who, at the time, was dying of cancer. Cathryn presented the premiere performance, beautifully, a few weeks before her death, in a very touching recital.

The short, 5-minute, work celebrates Cathryn's generosity of spirit. The music sings out, with beauty and grace, always with a richness and elegance. The work falls loosely into an ABA from, ending as it were, on a question, with a major seventh hanging in the air, unresolved.

Selected Reviews

Laurence Vittes, Gramophone

"Augusta Read Thomas's two solo viola pieces, PULSAR and INCANTATION, operate on a mesmerizing plane anchored in a Bachian sense of line and structure, and bombarded with echoes and reflections."

Ithaca Journal

"Incantation" for solo violin (1995), written as a lament to a dear friend, asks the listener to discover a balance between pain and peaceful resignation with yearning."

To obtain examination or performance material for any of
Augusta Read Thomas's works, please contact G. Schirmer Inc..