"The two viola sonatas feature strong piano playing from Paul Gulda (Friedrich’s son), most particularly in the last movement of the F minor and the second movement of the E flat major (with its noble sostenuto ‘trio’). Veronika Hagen’s sinewy tone suggests a lean mezzo to compare with the mellow baritone of, say, William Primrose. Gulda is at his most poetic in the First Sonata’s second movement, but although both players have the measure of Brahms’s muse, I sensed the balance of power was weighted rather too much in Gulda’s favour.
By far the best items on the disc are the two Op. 91 songs, where Iris Vermillion – a luminous-sounding mezzo with keen textual awareness – melds among her colleagues like a thirdRead more instrumentalist. Both performances are remarkably fluent...Very well recorded and expertly annotated by Bernard Jacobson."
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