British Rhapsody: Music for viola and piano – review

Su Zhen (viola), Simon Lepper (piano)
(Stone Records)

Thanks to Lionel Tertis (1876-1975), the great viola player who inspired many works last century, British composers have had a close association with the instrument. This disc is full of the rhapsody and lyricism that suits its middle-voiced, rich tone, opening with the poignant First Meeting (Souvenir) by Eric Coates, composer of Desert Island Discs' theme tune and himself a violist. Delius, in an arrangement of his Violin Sonata No 2, and York Bowen's Phantasy follow the mood deliciously. The Welsh composer Rhian Samuel (b.1944), in contrast, exploits the viola's capacity for sparseness and eloquence in Blythswood, written as she watched seascapes and mountains while resident in the remote Scottish Highlands. Beautifully played, this is an addictive disc.

Contributor

Fiona Maddocks

The GuardianTramp

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