Zwaag wrote the sonata “To my homeland” after meeting the Armenian Levon Mouradian.
Levon told Zwaag a great deal about his country and his people, which led Wim to compose this dramatic sonata in one outpouring of emtional inspiration.
The musical buildup which gradually transforms the slow subdued opening themes of the sonata into the later heroïsche form, represents the resurrection of the Armenian people against its oppressors.
The Sonata for Solo Cello is a study and cadenza-like composition which appears to have been influenced stylistically by (amongst others) Shostakovich and Prokofiev. The “Martellato“ opening has a passionate character and this quality distinguishes the entire composition. It requires not only the highest technical exertion and expertise from the cellist, but also demands possibly an even higher musical virtuosity due to its quasi-improvisational form.. As in the sonata from Kodahly, this work is also written in “Scordatura“ . The two lower strings of the cello are written a half-tone lower. This not only broadens the technical possibilities of the piece, but also colours the timbre of the instrument.
Within Zwaag’s oeuvres ‘Don Quijote’ is the first work to combine cello and piano. It is named after the Spanish gentleman, Don Quijote, who sprang out of the imagination of the writer Cervantes from Valadolid.
In the first movement we hear Don Quijote’s admiration for the maiden Dulcinea; his great love and the object of his chivalrous attentions. .His daydreams however are disturbed by other feelings. He doubts, he prays then returns to his dream of love for the unattainable Dulcinea.
The quickly changing moods of the music reflect those in the head of Don Quijote, their whimsical and almost crazy quality can be clearly heard in the following sections of the piece.
A nightmare follows in the second section; many memories and reflections on his life and his past finds expression in the third part “Recuerdos“ and the following “Pensamiento“.
In “Los Molinos de Viento“ till the end of the piece, we find him in battle;
tilting at the windmills which he perceives as dangerous giants.
The “Adagio” for viola and piano, written for David Abrahamyan, has concertant features but retains an intimate character.
The viola modestly but exuberantly tells its tale, carrying the listener along in its story.
The “Adagio’ derives its virtuosity, not only from several cadenzas, but also from its long-spun melodies.