Sonatas for Viola and Piano (2010)

Clarke, Vieuxtemps, Brahms

Tabea Zimmermann, Kirill Gerstein

“And when I had that one little whiff of success that I‘ve had in my life, with the Viola Sonata, the rumor went around, I hear, that I hadn‘t written the stuff myself, that somebody had done it for me. And I even got one or two little bits of press clippings saying that it was impossible, that I couldn‘t have written it myself. And the funniest of all was that I had a clipping once which said that I didn‘t exist, there wasn‘t any such person as Rebecca Clarke, that it was a pseudonym for Ernest Bloch!”

This was Rebecca Clarke speaking 1976 in an radio interview about her 1919 Sonata for Viola and Piano. Clarke had submitted it to the competition sponsored by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, as part of her annual chamber music festival held in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The competition was organized with anonymous submissions, and 73 composers submitted entries for viola and piano, the instrumentation chosen for that year.

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Kirill Gerstein

Kirill Gerstein’s curiosity and versatility has led to an intense engagement with a wide range of repertoire and styles. From Bach to Adès, his playing is distinguished by its clarity of expression, discerning intelligence and virtuosity. Gerstein’s energetic and imaginative musical personality has taken him rapidly to the top of his profession. 2015 saw the release of the world premiere recording of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto in the composer`s own final version from 1879. The recording won an ECHO Klassik award and was nominated for a BBC Music Magazine Award. Based in Berlin, Kirill Gerstein appears world-wide in performances ranging from concerts with the Chicago and Cleveland Orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw, Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, to recitals in London, Paris and New York. He is the sixth recipient of the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award, presented every four years to an exceptional pianist who, regardless of age or nationality, possesses broad and profound musicianship and charisma, and who performs internationally at the highest level. The prize enabled Gerstein to commission new works by Oliver Knussen, Chick Corea, Alexander Goehr, Brad Mehldau and Timothy Andres.

photo: from album booklet

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Sonatas for Viola and Piano (2010)

Clarke, Vieuxtemps, Brahms

Tabea Zimmermann, Kirill Gerstein

    SACD.Net

"Let there be no doubt about it: Tabea Zimmermann is once again a miracle-maker. Her highly expressive playing is magnified by an ideal sense of dynamic and phrasing. Accompanied with brio by Kirill Gerstein, the violist offers us here, with this first volume, an unforgettable recording."

Jean Jacques Millo

    All Music

The sometimes teased and frequently underestimated viola has rarely found its way into an album beautifully programmed and impeccably executed as this Myrios Classics disc featuring violist Tabea Zimmermann and pianist Kirill Gerstein. The program opens with the 1919 Viola Sonata of Rebecca Clarke, a work that lay dormant for decades but has since become one of the most celebrated sonatas in the viola's repertoire. Clarke's writing combines sweeping lyricism with hints of impressionism to create an intimately moving, captivating composition. Though known largely for his virtuoso violin compositions, Vieuxtemps' Op. 36 Viola Sonata combines fewer elements of bravura with writing that truly highlights the viola's ideal sound and emotive abilities. Last on the program is Brahms' well-known Second Viola Sonata (originally scored for clarinet or viola). In this, the first volume of what will hopefully be a lengthy series of albums devoted to the viola sonata repertoire, Zimmermann proves herself to be not only one of the most remarkable viola players in memory, but also a consummate, sensitive musician of the highest caliber. Her velvety, supple tone projects clearly without ever becoming nasal or forced; her dazzling technique and precise intonation rival even the best violinists. Add to this a keen interpretive sense that guides listeners through this beautiful repertoire, and something truly special results. Gerstein's equally warm, inviting playing is rich and authoritative, never covering the viola while at the same time not backing away from full forte playing. Myrios' clear, robust, spacious DSD sound is the cherry on top of an unreservedly recommended album. 5-Star Rating on a 5-Star scale."

Mike Brownell

    SACD.Net

"Tabea Zimmermann’s playing is profound, sculptural, and woven with unpretentious zeal. The autumnal colors of her instrument (a 1980 Vatelot) surround rather than charm you, thereby revealing her musical discourse’s basic humanism, which makes this instrumental singing like suspended time, one that the music requires. Here is an admirable DSD recording from start to finish. Performance: 4 Stars, Stereo and Multichannel Sound Quality: 5 Stars"

Sonatas for Viola and Piano (2010)

Clarke, Vieuxtemps, Brahms

Tabea Zimmermann, Kirill Gerstein

Mastering Engineer: Stephan Cahen
Mastering Equipment: B&W
Microphones: Sonodore
Producer: Stephan Cahen
Recording Engineer: Stephan Cahen
Recording location: Deutschlandfunk Kammermusiksaal
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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MYR004: Sonatas for Viola and Piano
01:05:40   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Sonata 1919, 1. Impetuoso - poco agitato
Clarke
00:07:42   Select quality & channels above
2.
Sonata 1919, 2. Vivace
Clarke
00:04:00   Select quality & channels above
3.
Sonata 1919, 3. Adagio - Allegro
Clarke
00:10:27   Select quality & channels above
4.
Sonata op. 36, 1. Maestoso - Allegro
Vieuxtemps
00:11:27   Select quality & channels above
5.
Sonata op. 36, 2. Barcarolla
Vieuxtemps
00:07:08   Select quality & channels above
6.
Sonata op. 36, 3. Finale scherzando
Vieuxtemps
00:04:09   Select quality & channels above
7.
Sonata op. 120/2, 1. Allegro amabile
Brahms
00:08:17   Select quality & channels above
8.
Sonata op. 120/2, 2. Allegro appassionato
Brahms
00:04:53   Select quality & channels above
9.
Sonata op. 120/2, 3. Andante con moto
Brahms
00:07:37   Select quality & channels above

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