I composed this work for viola and piano near to Christmas time one year when I had been quite ill and not too sure of how the future would pan out. I was mindful of the fact that the viola sonata had been the form of Shostakovich's final work. My Viola Sonata begins with a simple 'Jewish' sounding melodic pattern on the piano and in descending fourths on the viola. The viola and piano then move together in a simple pattern, which returns often as episodes throughout the first movement. The 'Jewish' themes later develop into more of a dance. The second movement is a lyrical slow movement and the poignant third captures the spirit of the season with distilled chords and brief snatches of distant Christmas Carols. The finale is built on ostinato patterns and march-like chords. But the work ends peacefully - and all is well.