You Review: Peter Mallinson and Matthias Wiesner
Reader Anna Williams enjoys rarely heard viola duos at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge
This illuminating concert by two BBC Symphony Orchestra violists presented works from the surprisingly substantial, yet neglected, repertoire for viola duo: a sonata from a set of six for two violas by the Baroque composer Jean-Marie Leclair; Lionel Tertis’s Variations on a Passacaglia of Handel, which uses the same theme as Johan Halvorsen’s Passacaglia for Violin and Viola; and Edmund Rubbra’s Meditations on a Byzantine Hymn.
Rubbra’s version of the Meditations for two violas retains the ethereal plangency of his more familiar version for viola solo, while adding a lustrous richness that leaves one wondering why this version is not the better known of the two.
The highlight of the concert was the warmly-received Sinfonia a Due by the Soviet-era Russian composer Fyodor Druzhinin, an astonishing diapason of timbres and special effects. Sinuous melodic lines spun through its three movements, which ranged in style from archly elegant neo-classicism to driving, quasi-gypsy rhythms and tonalities, resulting in a composition by turns playful and darkly turbulent.
This programme revealed the expressive range of the instrument to full advantage, in compelling performances that were a virtuosic synthesis of wit and passion.
Anna Williams, King’s Lynn
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- Article Type: | You Review |