Saturday, 14 July 2012

Shostakovich and Britten for Viola

Benjamin Britten's Lachrymae, and Shostakovich's Viola Sonata, are both “difficult” works for the listener. A new recording from Champs Hill sees both works played by Krzysztof Chorzelski (viola) and Katya Apekisheva. The CD also contains Schumann's Märchenbilder. This is my third recording of the Shostakovich “death bed” sonata, and fourth of Britten's piece. They don't get any easier, though – like much of his later work – I find the Shostakovich sonata riveting.

What is immediately laudatory about this new recording is the recorded balance, something that all too often is biased towards one or the other of the instruments. Here, one can set the desired volume level and this will be fine for both piano and viola. Congratulations to the two highly musical instrumentalists, and to the balance engineer. And also congratulations to Champs Hill on providing detailed and interesting liner notes that concentrate on the music.

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