- Performer: Chase; Otaki
- Composer: Benjamin; Enescu; Bach; Kodaly
- Audio CD (Feb. 23 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Ncl
- ASIN: B0030UO9RM
- In-Print Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
Virtuoso Viola Import
|Price:||CDN$ 16.79 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 35. Details|
Customers who bought this item also bought
Lovers of the viola will rejoice at this deliciously varied musical feast: ZoltAn KodAly' magnificent transcription of Bach' Chromatic Fantasia, Paganini' Sonata , two elegiac pieces by Vieuxtemps, Kreisler' Praeludium and Allegro, Benjamin' Le tombeau de
|5 star (0%)|
|4 star (0%)|
|3 star (0%)|
|2 star (0%)|
|1 star (0%)|
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
• Four works stand out: Paganini's "Sonata per la Grand Viola," a playful but fiendishly difficult showpiece with piano reduction of the orchestra; Kodály's solo viola arrangement of Bach's "Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue"; Kreisler's neo-Baroque and virtuosic "Praeludium and Allegro" in the style of Pugnani; and Vieuxtemps's profoundly expressive "Elegie."
• Roger Chase (viola) performs this eclectic program with consistent quality of tone, technique, and a sincerity of expression.
• Recorded sound is very close and intimate. These performances occurred in the world-renowned recording studio at Potton Hall.
With a title like "Virtuoso Viola," one might expect a program of acrobatics and showmanship. Some of these pieces are indeed rife with athletic display, but most are "virtuosic" by dint of their understated technical demands. British violist Roger Chase is an accomplished musician and former member of the Nash Ensemble. He studied with the great Lionel Tertis and performs on the Montagnana viola, passed onto him by his mentor, Bernard Shore. Chase is joined by Michiko Otaki, a professional accompanist who has recorded with him many times.
If I had to single out one blockbuster on this disc that lives up to the disc's title, it would be Paganini's "Sonata per la Grand Viola." Originally for viola and orchestra, it is presented here with orchestra reduced to piano. In this version, the viola dominates the texture while the piano has a supportive and unobtrusive continuo role. This is a tuneful and bravura extravaganza with profuse double stops, left hand pizzicato, and speedy finger work. Chase doesn't summon the fire and devil-may-care attitude required of the piece, but his superior tone and dexterity make this performance memorable.
Kodály's arrangement of Bach's "Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue" is also given a tenacious and excellent performance, marked by lithe and expressive playing with deft handling of harmonics. Kreisler's "Praeludium and Allegro" in the style of Pugnani—originally for violin—is an engrossing neo-Baroque work. The "Prelude" involves stately harmonic sequences, while the "Allegro" is perhaps the most intensely active showpiece on the program. Chase gives it his all; he's an impeccable technician and maintains polished playing throughout.
Who would have guessed a violin virtuoso like Vieuxtemps wrote pieces for the viola? Both selections are serious and lyrical gems played with a consistently beautiful tone. "Elegie" op. 30 is darked-hued, ennobled by grief, and somewhat Lisztian in style. Here the viola is taxed with expressive challenges: concentrated lyricism, wide registers, emotive cadenzas, and sudden passages of furious fiddling. Another exquisite jewel is Joseph Jongen's "Introduction et danse" op. 102, which inhabits a gentle impressionist soundworld.
Less arresting but by no means uninteresting is Arthur Benjamin's 13-minute "Le tombeau de Ravel." Essentially a suite of valse caprices, this is coolly detached and reflective music. Its tonal makeup runs the gamut of hyper chromaticism, modality, and freely tonal harmony. Another curious piece is Enescu's animated and dreamy "Concertstuck." Deceptively virtuosic, it features piquant melodies comprised of octatonic scales and double stopped lines set against shifting piano colors. The program concludes with a sunny "Scherzo" by Chase's mentor, Bernard Shore, who evokes an early 20th century English style.