Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

English Music for Viola and Piano

The Bridge Duo

Matthew Jones-Viola ,Michael Hampton-Piano

Sir Arthur Bliss (1891-1975). Sonata for Viola and Piano (1933)
Frank Bridge (1879-1941). Gondoliera (1907), Meditation (1912) and Allegro Appassionata (1908)
Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) Morpheus (1918)
York Bowen (1884-1961) Phantasy for Viola and Piano, Op.54 (1918)

London Independent Records LIR011 (Time 54 mins, Recorded April 2005)

The viola is famously the favoured string instrument played by many composers and in this excellently performed disc Matthew Jones captures the essence of these fine English pieces for the instrument and piano.

The Bliss Sonata is the most well known piece on the CD and makes enormous demands on the violist. It is a powerful and mature work that contains at once diligent craftsmanship, and profound solemnity in the slow movement, combined with a furious evocation of the life force and a deep restlessness. It is a superb achievement for the musicians to have captured this.

The recording ends with a hair-raising performance of the brilliant Bowen Phantasy, a piece that almost sounds as Russian as it does English with its big romantic gestures for both instruments. It is becoming more of a repertoire favourite again (I have heard it performed three times in the last several years).

In between we can hear some bittersweet, elegiac pieces by Bridge and a melodic, atmospheric piece by Rebecca Clarke. Altogether an excellent disc.



© Peter Grahame Woolf