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Musik für Viola solo
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Chromatic Fantasia BWV903 (c.1730) transcribed (1950) by Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967) [7:58]
Johann Nepomuk DAVID (1895-1977) Sonata for solo viola Op.31 No.3 (1943) [16:38]
Felix TREIBER (b.1960) Six Caprices for solo viola (1999) [12:11]
Adolf BUSCH (1891-1952) Suite in A minor for solo viola Op.16 [9:08]; Praeludium and Fugato in E minor for solo viola BoO 6 (1948) [3:29]
Eugčne BOZZA (1905-1991) Parthie for solo viola (1967) [12:32]
Sibylle Langmaack (viola)
rec. February 2007-February 2009, Gemeindezentrum HI. Geist, Karlsruhe-Büchtig
ANTES BM-CD 31.9261 [62:34]


Experience Classicsonline

This adventurous programme sees violist Sibylle Langmaack assume the interpretative high ground in works that span the twentieth century. That’s slightly misleading, inasmuch as we hear Kodály’s take on Bach’s Chromatic Fantasia, but if we agree to include him on familiar hyphenated grounds then a programme of well balanced intelligence emerges.
Kodály had written transcriptions of three Bach Chorale Preludes for cello and piano back in 1924. He was later, in 1951, to arrange the E flat minor Prelude and Fugue for the same combination of instruments. But the year before, he’d written this Chromatic Fantasia transcription for solo viola. He ventures some octave transpositions as well as briefly editing Bach’s writing – he omits some bars – but he also offers a staunchly virtuosic and rugged exploration, deserving of the interest of violists.
Johann Nepomuk David – the name has a very eighteenth century Bohemian ring to it – was born in 1895 and lived to 1977. He’s the father of Lukas David. J.N. David’s Sonata was written during the war years, for Emil Seiler, a well-known violist of the day. The ethos is that of an amalgam of Bach and Hindemith. There’s a strongly meditative quality, one that explores the more sonorous and expressive areas of the instrument’s arsenal, though there’s a delightfully genteel Minuet as well.
Felix Treiber, who was born in 1960, is himself a viola player and crafted this characterful set of character set pieces in 1999. His Caprices embrace spooky flageolet, pensive pizzicati, and a chirpy Allegretto (track 10). They’re played with vivid immediacy. Adolf Busch’s compositions are getting wider publicity of late. His Suite is a brief baroque-tinged affair, underscored by the baroque movement nomenclature. The Scherzo however has a nice trio section, and sounds rather French in the outer sections (Leclair maybe). A brief Sarabande is followed by a solid romantic-baroque Bourée finale. The Prelude and Fugue was written in 1948 and now sound less urgently neo-baroque in orientation. Brief though it is it maintains a fine polyphonic standing. Finally we have Bozza’s Parthie for solo viola, written in 1967. Clearly the most advanced work, it too nods toward the baroque but in a most ingenious way, dissolving the bar lines at various points and encouraging a sense of quasi-improvisation that pays homage to earlier models. Even its title is a variation on Partita.
Warmly recorded and excellently played, this disc succeeds in drawing disparate compositions together in a thematically elegant and non-dogmatic way.
Jonathan Woolf


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