Notes and Editorial Reviews
Toronto master Steven Dann proves once again that the viola is the most underrated of string instruments with this remarkable album of substantial French pieces written between 1897 and 1944. Dann provides this rich music laden with Impressionist as well as late-Romantic influences with intensely glowing interpretations, in collaboration with fellow Torontonian Jamie Parker at the piano. These pieces take advantage of the viola’s full dynamic and tonal range, from the oaken heft of its low notes, to the dusky, wailing quality of tis heights. They also make a lot of demands on the player, asking him to be both virtuoso and crooner. According to Dann, one of the two Sonatas, by Pierre de Bréville (1861-1949), and the Suite, by Charles
Tournemire (1870-1939), have not been recorded before, and these eloquent interpretations make a convincing case for these pieces to find a home in mainstream repertoire. My favourite is the best known of the three, a Sonata for Violin and Piano completed in 1915 by Charles Koechlin (1867-1950), which opens with a deceptively simple little lullaby before turning into a showpiece. This album earns both love and respect.
- The Toronto Star
It wasn’t until 1894, 99 years after the violin and cello were allowed into the Paris Conservatory, that the institution’s great doors were opened for the viola. In the years that followed, a spate of music for viola was written in France. On this recording, internationally renowned Canadian violist Steven Dann and pianist James Parker introduce listeners to little known music, including two works that have never before been recorded. Read less
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