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Viola in Exile: Viola Sonatas by Hans Gál, Eric Zeisl & Fritz Kreisler / Julia Rebekka Adler, viola; Axel Gremmelspacher, piano

Album Summary

>Gál, Hans : Sonata for viola & piano in A major, Op. 101
>Zeisl, Eric : Sonata for viola & piano in A minor
>Weigl, Karl Ignaz : Sonata for viola & piano
>Kreisler, Fritz : Schön Rosmarin, for violin & piano
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The viola sonatas by Hans Gál (1941), Karl Weigl (1940) and Erich Zeisl (1950), performed by the duo of violist Julia Rebekka Adler and pianist Alex Gremmelspacher, give clear indication of the horrors of the Holocaust and the suffering of millions of people: predominant gloom, laments and the inclusion of elements of Jewish music testify to the processing of experience. In homage to composure and Viennese charm, this CD concludes with the evergreen 'Schön Rosmarin' by Fritz Kreisler, arranged for viola by J.R. Adler, allowing for a brief glimpse of 'Old Vienna'.

American Record Guide, March/April 2015
I love all three of these mid-20th-Century viola sonatas by Hans Gal, Eric Zeisl, and Karl Weigl, and I want to play them myself as soon as I can get my hands on the music (and it looks like all of them are in print). Gal (1890- 1987) made his new home in Scotland; Zeisl (1905-59) moved to Hollywood, where he wrote music for films and taught composition; and Weigl (1881-1949) moved to the east coast, where he taught at the Hartt School of Music, Brooklyn College, and the Boston Conservatory. Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) became a citizen of the world. Adler's transcription of 'Sch÷n Rosmarin' is very inventive. She makes interesting octave changes here and there, and makes the piece sound good on the viola. Gal, Zeisl, and Weigl all had to strugglewith musical life, and it has taken far too long for the quality of their work to be recognized, and recorded. I like this reading of the 1941 Gal Sonata more than the reading by Roger Benedict and Timothy Young (J/F 2015). I would no longer call the piece "pedestrian" after hearing these musicians play it. Perhaps a better description would be good natured and sweetly lyrical. It is a great deal lighter than the Zeisl Sonata (1950) that follows it. The Zeisl is a dark and heavy piece soaked in musical gestures found in Jewish liturgical music. It is beautifully written for the viola, and this reading of it (the first I have ever heard) is dramatic, serious, and compelling. It is full of humor and lyricism and is beautifully written for the viola.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Tonstudio Tonal, Vienna (06/07/2014-06/09/2014).



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Works Details

>Gál, Hans : Sonata for viola & piano in A major, Op. 101
  • Performers: Julia Adler (Viola); Axel Gremmelspacher (Piano)
  • Notes: Tonstudio Tonal, Vienna (06/07/2014-06/09/2014)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1941

>Zeisl, Eric : Sonata for viola & piano in A minor
  • Performers: Julia Adler (Viola); Axel Gremmelspacher (Piano)
  • Notes: Tonstudio Tonal, Vienna (06/07/2014-06/09/2014)
  • Running Time: 28 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1950

>Weigl, Karl Ignaz : Sonata for viola & piano
  • Performers: Julia Adler (Viola); Axel Gremmelspacher (Piano)
  • Notes: Tonstudio Tonal, Vienna (06/07/2014-06/09/2014)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1940

>Kreisler, Fritz : Schön Rosmarin, for violin & piano
  • Performer: Julia Adler (Viola)
  • Notes: Tonstudio Tonal, Vienna (06/07/2014-06/09/2014)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: by 1910