This project has been a very special adventure for me. I have made every decision deliberately and with a lot of thought. I would like to thank Patrick Peikert, director of Claves Records, for this experience. To have the chance to record a solo CD is an incredible opportunity, which I am endlessly grateful for.
The program I selected, is dedicated to my love for the british viola repertoire. I really wanted the CD to sound as cohesive as possible, whilst it explores all different emotional and timbral ranges. Clarke, Britten and Bowen are three exceptional examples of that.
The Viola sonata by Rebecca Clarke was written in 1919 for a competition in which she tied for first place with Ernest Bloch. Bloch was finally declared the winner. It is speculated that the reason for it was the disbelief that a woman could write such an astounding piece of music. Of course, now we consider her sonata for viola and piano to be a staple piece in the viola repertoire. It has been recorded and performed by world-renowned, incredible violists and it is definitely a pressure for anyone wishing to showcase their interpretation of it. I certainly do feel it, however I am also excited to have had the opportunity. I have been performing it for a few years and so the piece has grown up and evolved with me. It has become my favorite sonata to play and now I am happy to have an immortalized version of it.
The Lachrymae, Reflections on a song by John Dowland was composed by Britten in 1950. It is a piece I have listened to for many years. However I never thought I could it justice. It is exceptionally written and it has so much to say in the span of 15 minutes!
Originally, the piece was written for William Primrose. It is known that the violist didn’t completely understand or appreciate this piece, and has been quoted to say that the “drama and fantasy” was not enough.
It is in fact important to note that during the 20th century, the significance of the interpretation of different works had exponentially increased. Perhaps Primrose was looking for a broader palette, to paint with bigger and bolder strokes.
I find this piece to provide the perfect canvas for just that. Each variation can be its own little universe. Whilst rehearsing with the pianist Irene Puccia, we tried to focus primarily on showcasing as many different characters and almost creating a poetic, story-like quality to the piece.
The final piece, the Phantasy in F major for viola and piano, was written by York Bowen in 1918. It was originally performed by world-renowned violist of the 20th century, Lionel Tertis. The piece, like almost all of Bowen’s viola music was written for Tertis and it really shows what an amazing virtuoso the performer must have been in his prime. This piece also has a certain Brahmsian quality. I worked with the pianist Alla Belova to bring fiery and expressive sound to the surface. It ended up creating the perfect balance of tranquility and passion. I conclude with this piece, because I believe it created an amazing end to this musical story. Being written almost exactly the same time as the viola sonata by Clarke, it can brings back similar themes and hopefully serve as an invitation to relisten.
Read more and bios in the booklet