SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

“English Music for Viola and Piano” = SIR ARTHUR BLISS: Sonata for Viola and Pianoforte; ARNOLD BAX: Sonata for Viola and Piano; RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Suite for Viola and Pianoforte – Christian Euler, viola/ Paul Rivinus, p. – MD&G Scene

Three lovely works by British composers for viola and piano.

Published on January 3, 2014

“English Music for Viola and Piano” =  SIR ARTHUR BLISS: Sonata for Viola and Pianoforte; ARNOLD BAX: Sonata for Viola and Piano; RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Suite for Viola and Pianoforte – Christian Euler, viola/ Paul Rivinus, p. – MD&G Scene

“English Music for Viola and Piano” =  SIR ARTHUR BLISS: Sonata for Viola and Pianoforte; ARNOLD BAX: Sonata for Viola and Piano; RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Suite for Viola and Pianoforte – Christian Euler, viola/ Paul Rivinus, piano – MD&G Scene SACD-DSD B00B5DWFO0, 75:52 [4/9/13] [Distr. by E1 Entertainment] *****: 

Christian Euler gives an English trio of powerhouse viola sonatas, each premiered by Lionel Tertis, some powerful playing with the help of pianist Paul Rivinius and the engineers at MD&G working in the 12th century Abbey of Marienmünster, 20 miles southeast of the label’s headquarters in Detmold.

The Bax Sonata in particular is a major work for the viola, full of deeply Romantic melody and soul, two glorious slow movements flanking a violent excursion into mankind’s darker side (it was written in the aftermath of World War I), which Euler gives a long, impassioned reading in which the darker contours of his tone project forth with stunning force in the surround sound 5.1 configuration.

Of the other two, written in the mid 1930s, Euler’s approach does similar wonders for the Bliss, a thing of surprising, swirling beauty, than for the more conventional Vaughan Williams, which he and Rivinius threaten to overwhelm at times.

—Laurence Vittes




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