Romanze: The Romantic Viola
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-49) Märchenbilder, Op. 113.
Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Elegy, Op. 44.
Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Two Pieces.
Johann KALLIWODA (1801-66) Three Nocturnes from Op. 168.
Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Romanze, Op. 85.
Mikhail GLINKA (1804-57) Viola Sonata in D minor (completed
Yuko Inoue (viola);
Kathron Sturrock (piano).
Black Box BBM1034
I hope this disc goes at least some way to banishing those (admittedly very
funny) viola jokes to oblivion. The Japanese violist Yuko Inoue's CV makes
for impressive reading. She has pursued a successful solo career ever since
winning the Seventeenth International Viola Competition. At present she holds
a professorship at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Comparisons with Nobuko Imai are perhaps inevitable, and indeed there are
two versions by Imai of the first work on the disc, Schumann's
Märchenbilder, Op. 113 (one with Argerich, the other with Vignoles).
However, Inoue is completely persuasive on her own terms, able to project
long-breathed lines and to play with real innigkeit. In the livelier
movements she exhibits all the requisite technique and spirit to really involve
the listener in Schumann's world. Only Sturrock's (occasionally) over-zealous
accompaniment detracts a little.
Inoue champions the music of all of the composers on the disc wholeheartedly,
being perhaps surprisingly impassioned in the Two Pieces by Frank
Bridge (1905-8) and establishing a remarkably close rapport with her pianist
in Glazunov's Elegy, Op. 44.
Kalliwoda's Three Nocturnes (from his Op. 186) exemplify light, harmless
Romanticism. More importantly, the Bruch comes as a real bonus and adds to
our knowledge of this composer's music. His Romanze, Op. 85 is haunting
and melancholic (Inoue contributes perfectly in-tune double-stopping along
Finally, the disc concludes with Glinka's D minor Viola Sonata (much of the
accompaniment is realised by Borisovsky). As in the Schumann, there is stiff
competition, this time once from Imai (an early BIS disc, CD358) and Bashmet
(RCA 09026 61273-2), but again the power of Inoue and Sturrock's partnership
provides a comprehensive experience. Both really immerse themselves in the
Romanticism of it all, producing an improvisatory feel in the more lyrical
passages. The second (and final) movement is a beautiful way to end a disc
that will bring a great deal of pleasure and more than its fair share of
discoveries. The recording is full and spacious, fully up to Black Box's