Paul CHIHARA (b.1938)
Viola Sonata (1994 rev. 2009) [13:34]
Etwas für Bratsche (etwas rasch!) [6:18]
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-76)
Lachrymae Op.48 (1950) [16:01]
Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963)
Viola Sonata (1939) [24:20]
Shelly Tramposh (viola)
Cullan Bryant (piano)
rec. December 2010, Hosmer Hall, Crane School of Music at SUNY, Potsdam
RAVELLO RECORDS RR7818 [60:40]
Two world premiere recordings take their place alongside masterpieces by Hindemith
and Britten in this disc. The Viola Sonata by Paul Chihara has an interesting
background. It was written for his violist wife Carol Landon in 1994 but its
completion was interrupted by a serious illness and when composition resumed
the second movement became a finale. Then in 2009 Chihara, now fully recovered,
added a third movement. Its opening is songful, and full of generous lyrical
impulse. The finale now reflects on earlier themes, adding its own dancing and
singing motifs to bear, though one or two are over-extended. The throwaway ending
demonstrates wit and resilience. Shelly Tramposh plays this very well but some
of the higher positional writing reveals a thinness and nasality of tone.
Written for the Tramposh-Bryant duo, Paul Siskind’s Etwas für
Bratsche (etwas rasch!) offers a more complex landscape and one that uses
space with confidence, so too ostinati and reflective patterns. The piano offers
much in the way of supportive colour and texture, while the writing is often
ruminative and deals with tricky leaps. Its expressive component offers a fair
match for its technical demands however. Britten’s Lachrymae was
written for William Primrose, who would not have been best described as English,
as he is in the booklet notes. Note to Americans: Glasgow is not in England.
The performance is keen but ultimately wanting in misterioso elements,
and is too measured for its own good. It’s also far more moving when Dowland’s
song is finally revealed up to tempo. This can’t compete either temporally
or tonally with classics such as Josef Kodousek and Květa Novotna’s
old Supraphon disc or indeed a newcomer on Champs Hill by Krzysztof Chorzelski
and Katya Apekisheva. There is also a certain tonal thinness (especially in
the Phantasie) in the Hindemith but the direction of the music is good;
and Bryant in particular plays with real authority.
The recorded sound is first class. This is a useful recording for the two works
new to disc.
Useful for the two works new to disc.