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Cover
York Bowen, Frank Bridge, Benjamin Dale

Gernot Adrion | Yuki Inagawa

English Viola Music

  • Type CD
  • Label CAvi
  • UPC 4260085531738
  • Catalog number AVI 8553173
  • Release date 09 March 2018
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About the album

Even frequent concertgoers will find it difficult to imagine what to expect under the heading “English viola music”. A few symphonic works by Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Britten have found an established place in our German concert repertoire; violists also know William Walton’s concerto. Other composers of the British Isles, however, have remained unknown to the German public in spite of their prolific output: names such as York Bowen (1884-1961), Benjamin Dale (1885-1943) or Frank Bridge (1879-1941). These three, featured on this CD, belong to a generation of musicians who centered their activities around London toward the turn of the century and ushered in a new period blending Late Romanticism with Classical Modernism.

All three of them had a particular penchant for the viola’s dark and melancholy timbre: the viola could serve as the perfect musical correlate to the fin-de-siècle mood that had taken over the minds and hearts of so many artists, authors and intellectuals. Bowen’s Sonata, Dale’s Phantasy and the six pieces by Bridge all stem from the period between 1901 and 1910 – a time when the first composers on the Continent were starting to eschew major/minor tonality. Until then, the viola had been completely overshadowed by other solo instruments. If it had now become the object of more frequent attention, this was partly due to the exceptional stature of Lionel Tertis (1876-1975). Since Tertis was the first violist who attained international fame, composers now found it worthwhile to collaborate with him and dedicate works to him.( Excerpt from the booklet notes by Gernot Adrion)

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