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Viola & Violist

Martin Outram & Anastasia Solberg

English Viola Sonatas

Arnold: Viola Sonata, Op. 17
Berkeley, L: Viola Sonata, Op. 22
Delius: Cello Sonata
(trans. Martin Outram): world première recording
Ireland: Cello Sonata (trans. Lionel Tertis): world première recording
Jacob, G: Viola Sonata

Martin Outram (viola) & Julian Rolton (piano)

The English viola repertoire still draws heavily on transcriptions (q.v. Eniko Magyar). One of these, by the greatest pioneer and champion of the instrument, Lionel Tertis is included and Ireland's fine cello sonata goes well in his version. But half an hour of transcription is really too much, and one wonders why the emphasis on "English" rather than on finding the best repertoire worldwide? Clearly there is a market, but English nationalism pays a price...

Of the originals, the Arnold is something of a discovery, quirky and unredictable, very personal. And Berkeley's is good solid fare, but we found it less endearing than live a few years back (Morgan Goff at St Giles for a Berkeley centenary concert).

Outram is a distinguished long-term member of the Maggini Quartet and it is regrettable to have to mention that on his own, as recorded by Mike Clements at Wyanstone, his tone is often less than ingratiating.

A useful disc for violists but not a strong recommendation for the general collector.

Anastasia Solberg & AFMM

Coimbra Manuscript (c. 1500), Partch, Dinescu, Grainger, Wyschnegradsky, Rovner, Xenakis etc

Pitch P-200215

Far more exciting, and better recorded in a more resonant acoustic, is Anastasia Solberg in a mouth-watering collection of music from c.1000 A.D. to today and tomorrow.

Wide ranging, and with all the excitement of other discs in the American Festival of Microtonal Music series, this will open the ears of all violists and lovers of that mellow instrument.

Hear her in Xenakis' Embellie complete.

Recommended without reservations.

Peter Grahame Woolf