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CI 9053
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CI 9053
AMERICAN VIOLA WORKS

AMERICAN VIOLA WORKS

The Classical Shop
release date: March 2012


Artists:

Robert Koenig

Soloist

Cathy Basrak

Soloist

William Koehler

Soloist

Record Label
Cedille

Genre:

Chamber


Classical

Total Time - 71:39
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AMERICAN VIOLA WORKS

     
Select Complete Single Disc for
     
 

GEORGE ROCHBERG

 

Viola Sonata

 
1 I. Allegro moderato 10:11
 Cathy Basrak Soloist
     
2 II. Adagio Lamentoso 7:06
 Cathy Basrak Soloist
     
3 III. Fantasia: Epilogue 2:58
 Robert Koenig Soloist
     
 

FREDERICK JACOBI

4 

Fantasy for Viola and Piano

9:47
 William Koehler Soloist
     
 

ALAN SHULMAN

5 

Theme and Variations

14:02
 Cathy Basrak Soloist
     
 

QUINCY PORTER

6 

Speed Etude

2:21
 Robert Koenig Soloist
     
 

LOWELL LIEBERMANN

 

Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 13

 
7 I. Allegro Moderato 8:53
 Cathy Basrak Soloist
     
8 II. Andante 8:57
 Cathy Basrak Soloist
     
9 III. Recitativo 7:24
 Cathy Basrak Soloist


Cathy Basrak, the 23-year-old newly appointed assistant principal violist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and principal violist of the Boston Pops Orchestra, makes her recording debut with an all-American program of attractive twentieth-century chamber music that’s rarely heard - and largely unfamiliar even to many violists.
 
Rochberg’s Sonata, a highly expressive, romantic work from his post-serial period, is lyrical yet intellectually stimulating. It was commissioned to celebrate the 75th birthday of viola phenomenon William Primrose.
 
Jacobi’s 1941 Fantasy for Viola and Piano synthesizes classical, romantic, and modern influences with melodies that recall Jacobi’s Jewish heritage. Ms. Basrak calls the Fantasy "the most difficult piece I’ve played on the viola." Likening it to Paganini’s violin music, she says it demands virtuosic playing and dramatic expression extending to "all extremes of the spectrum."
 
The most familiar work on the album (other than the Rochberg) is Shulman’s Theme and Variations. A fixture of the standard viola repertoire, it’s unabashedly romantic in style but rich in substance. Impressionistic reveries alternate with rapid-fire passages of daunting difficulty. (In 1999, Ms. Basrak performed the orchestral version as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and conductor Luis Biava -- the result of her having won a student competition.)
 
Porter, a Connecticut native who studied composition in Paris with Vincent D’Indy, wrote extensively for strings. His sunny Speed Etude, commissioned as a virtuosic tour de force for Paul Doktor, is infused with an ebullient postwar optimism.
 
Liebermann’s Sonata for Viola and Piano is an enchanting piece that’s by turns ethereal and jazzy. Hailed as "one of America’s most gifted ’new tonalist’ composers" (Time), the 39-year old New Yorker’s music has been performed by Mstislav Rostropovich, James Galway, James Levine, and Leonard Slatkin.
 
Ms. Basrak assembled the program herself after combing music libraries for substantial viola pieces by American composers. "My orchestral colleagues and friends weren’t familiar with a lot of this work," Ms. Basrak says. "They were inspired to know there is American music of this quality [for viola]." To gain insights, she met with two of the three living composers represented on the recording Mr. Rochberg and Mr. Liebermann and corresponded with the ailing Mr. Shulman’s son Jay. "The whole experience amounted to so much more than finding music music to put on a recording," she says. "It was more of a personal journey." She recalls Mr. Rochberg’s passionate enthusiasm for his sonata: "He had such commitment to what he had written," she says. "He related his music to me as if he had written it yesterday. It was still so fresh in his mind."
"What a delight this CD is . . . The music is accessible, and in the hands of a superior artist as Ms. Basrak, rewarding and most satisfying to listen to." 
 
The New York Violist

 "This new CD reveals [Basrak] to be a major talent, with technique, temperament, and taste. She has fine pianists to assist her, excellent sound, and the deserved support of Cedille Records." 

Fanfare 

 


 "[Basrak] possesses a luminous, rounded tone and she is nimble and responsive in even the most technically trying passages. . . . I’m positive that a bright future awaits her, judging solely by the merits of this recording."  

 
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