Concerts from the Library of Congress developed the Boccaccio Project to provide some artistic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ten composers were commissioned to write brief solo works, with the remotely recorded pieces to be premiered online in June 2020.
Premiere Date: MONDAY, JUNE 22, 2020 at 8:00 PM
Composer Luciano Chessa has been paired with violist Charlton Lee of the Del Sol Quartet to write a new work for solo viola, entitled 1462 Willard Street.
1462 Willard Street
Charlton Lee, viola
Mark Werlin, videography
About the work
Written for Charlton Lee, a fearless performer I much admire, “1462 Willard Street” is a piece for unaccompanied viola. 1462 Willard Street is the address of a hilltop San Francisco house I was visiting when, on March 16, 2020, the City of San Francisco lowered the boom with a shelter-in-place order to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
What was supposed to be a pleasant, week-long California visit bizarrely lasted two full months. My flagging spirits, a result of uncertainty, fear, and dread, were lifted by daily meals and storytelling sessions with my two hosts John and Zane; heartfelt telephone calls to my anguished parents in Italy; as well as to friends throughout a dislocated world. “1462 Willard Street” reflects the emotions of this lockdown, expressed through a counterpoint, often found in my music, of sweetness and grit. May this piece then capture my days in isolation. May it recall our storytelling and the endless strands of pleasure that resulted. And may the kindness of the two angels who sheltered me always be remembered.
Dedicated to Zane Blaney and John Caldwell.
Thanks to David Plylar, Keith Lawrence, Robert Weil, Benjamin Kreith, and Joshua Howes.
~ Luciano Chessa