The British viola player Lawrence Power continues to be acclaimed as one of the greatest performers of today. Together with Hyperion he is recording all of the seminal twentieth-century works for the viola. Of the three Hungarian works for viola and orchestra on this latest release, the best-known is Bartok’s viola concerto, completed after the composer’s death by Tibor Serly.
The revival of the viola d'amore as an instrument distinct and separate from the viola is a well-established phenomenon, advanced by composers and performers alike at least since the 1920s. That doesn't mean, however, that there are a great many players of the viola d'amore around, nor are there nearly as many viola d'amores in existence to play, at least in a quantity relative to the number of violas that are out there.
This disc strikes me as an ideal introduction to the music of Turkey’s greatest composer. Ahmed Adnan Saygun’s style might be described as “Szymanowski with a primal rhythmic feel.” If you love the composer’s First Violin Concerto then you will find here a very similar exoticism, nocturnal atmosphere, and love of voluptuous textures. The harmonic style is intensely chromatic, but also highly melodic. Like Bartók in his last period, Saygun’s handling of tonality mellowed toward the end of his life, which makes the Cello Concerto more consonant than the Viola Concerto, but both works are absolutely gorgeous and masterpieces of their kind. It’s positively criminal that no one plays these pieces regularly in concert. The performances here are excellent. Tim Hugh is a well-known cellist, and he pours on the tone with all of the rhapsodic abandon that Saygun requires. Mirjam Tschopp also is a superb violist, with a big, beefy tone that never gets swamped by the intricate orchestration. It’s also very rewarding to hear a Turkish orchestra in this music–and to find that it plays beautifully under Howard Griffiths.
There is only one word that can describe Narciso Yepes' technique: extraordinary. He was one of the finest virtuoso classical guitarists of the 20th century and his DG albums are regarded as reference recordings. This 5 CD Original Jackets collection brings together all of his concerto recordings for the Yellow Label, recorded between 1969 and 1979. The repertoire ranges from Vivaldi’s Lute Concertos adapted for guitar, to works written for Yepes and other leading guitarists of the 20th century.
Spanish guitar legend Narciso Yepes, who was known for his outstanding technical abilities and his fine artistic judgment, recorded exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon for more than 20 years. This collection brings together all of his concerto recordings for the Yellow Label, recorded between 1969 and 1979. The repertoire ranges from Vivaldi Lute Concertos adapted for guitar to works written for Yepes and other leading guitarists of the 20th century.
Bratsche! It’s not often that the German word for ‘viola’ comes with an exclamation mark attached, but the cover of Antoine Tamestit’s new release heralds something worth celebrating. Among the latest of the new star violists to record Hindemith, Tamestit brings his wonderful musical intelligence to bear on some of the greatest music written for the instrument. Tamestit has selected four contrasting works that reflect that composer’s expressive range: one of the solo sonatas, one of the sonatas with piano, and two very different works for viola and orchestra.
These two sonatas, originally written for clarinet, marked the end of an intense period of depression for Brahms, during which his creative energies had all but faded. Kim Kashkashian, whose command of the viola unearths an even deeper realm of possibility in this already engaging diptych, faithfully captures the somber circumstances of its creation. In doing so, she shows that the viola is no less an instrument of breath, drawing from deep within her lungs the sheer vocal power required to carry across such arresting music.