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Fantasy and Farewell

April 2, 2013 | Format: MP3

$8.99
Also available in CD Format
Song Title
Time
Popularity  
30
1
5:29
30
2
7:05
30
3
6:28
30
4
3:25
30
5
3:28
30
6
2:28
30
7
4:58
30
8
10:49
30
9
7:00
30
10
15:24
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Format: Audio CD
The only piece here that is not a transcription is Michael McLean's 2008 Suite for Viola and Orchestra, which Roger Myers commissioned in memory of his mother, who loved the music of JS Bach. McLean writes eloquently for the viola using tonal harmonies that could be referred to as "postmodern" (rather than neo-romantic). The orchestration is lush and recalls epic 21st-Century film music, with prominent horn parts and rich solo parts for the winds. II is a Passacaglia, with the ground often set very low in the orchestra, so the viola can project clearly as he plays through his many chains of arpeggiated chords.

The movement I like best is III, which begins with fragments of a chorale from Bach's St Matthew Passion, and then romps happily along using a Pulcinella-influenced orchestration reinforced with driving ostinato rhythms. This attractive piece, recorded here for the first time, is certainly a welcome addition to the growing literature for solo viola and orchestra.

McLean's orchestration of Robert Schumann's Marchenbilder, Op. 113, is a masterpiece. The viola part remains exactly the same as the original (it was originally written for viola), and the orchestration seems informed by Tchaikovsky and Dvorak, in all the best violin-concerto-like ways. Schumann certainly would have approved of the timpani playing the "ta-da-dum" rhythm in II, but I don't know if he would have thought of it. I find myself smiling through the whole piece, wishing it would never end.

Vladimir Mendelssohn's transcription of the Shostakovich Viola Sonata (the "farewell" in the release's title, because it was Shostakovich's last piece) is for solo viola, string orchestra, and celeste. The orchestration completely transforms the piece.
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