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
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.
Jonathan Woolf
Useful for the two works new to disc.