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Reger: 3 Suites For Viola Solo

Reger: 3 Suites For Viola Solo

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Max Reger (1873–1916) is noted for his devotion to Johann Sebastian Bach. His 3 Suites for Viola Solo Op. 131d – completed a year before his death – belong to a collection of works with an ancient feel in the style of Bach, which also comprises music for solo violin, for two violins and for cello. The three solo viola suites all emphasize the polyphonic nature of an instrument that to this day is still considered monodic.

Henri Vieuxtemps (1820–1881) was a key exponent of the Franco-Belgian school of advanced virtuoso violin technique and a contributor to the founding of the Russian school. His Capriccio per viola sola, Op. 55 begins with the instruction Lento, con molta espressione, a character that pervades the entire work. It is packed with rapid virtuosic passages that are challenging both for the left hand and the bow, maintaining a constant dialogue across a range of timbres.

In the 1970s, following years of avant-garde experimentation, the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki (1933–2020) returned to a more ‘classic’ style, with conventional notation and melodies or small melodic intervals at the heart of his works. This is true of his Cadenza for Solo Viola, written in 1984. It is considered a piece in its own right, despite close links with the Viola Concerto written a year earlier.

Benjamin Britten (1913–1976) composed his Elegy for solo viola in 1930. Discovered only after his death, it can be seen as a youthful musical reflection and commentary on his miserable boarding school experience.

The Élégie for solo viola by Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971), composed in 1944, arguably has the structure of a two-part invention, divided up into exposition, fugue and recapitulation, and the various stages highlight the instrument’s polyphony with echoes of Bach.

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Brilliant Classics
    • UPC/Barcode: 5028421969237
    • Item Number: BRI96923