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C P Stamitz: Concertos for Viola d'amore

Concertos No. 1 in D major & No. 2 in D major for viola d'amore and orchestra
Sonata E-flat Major for viola d'amore and accompanying instruments

Gunter Teuffel (viola d'amore)
Heidelberg Symphony/Thomas Fey

Profil (Hanssler) PH03001 [49'28"]

Carl Philipp Stamitz
(1756-1801) was a prolific composer and inveterate, restless traveller who eventually died in poverty. He was particularly associated with the viola d'amore, a once poppular instrument developed in England in the wake of increasing colonial trade with India in the seventeenth century; its closest relative is the sitar, which has up to twenty sympathetic vibrating aliquot strings. These are pleasing concertos, plus an oddly scored "Sonata" whiich may have been a re-working of a duo for violin and viola d'amore; the full orchestra only comes in towards the end.

The recording shows the instrument's silvery tone to good effect and the presentation is adequate; because there is no good picture of the instrument I provide one! Enjoyable as a novelty and recommended especially to violists interested in diversifying.

The only regret is that the CD has very short measure, which may put off some purchasers; a pity not to have included an extra item from the excellent Heidelberg Symphony.

To hear the viola d'amore unaccompanied, listen on line to Thomas Gorgi on his informative dedicated website.

© Peter Grahame Woolf