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Rudolf Haken (b.1965): Romancing The Viola (Music for Viola and Piano) - Polonaise; Für Fritz; Fantasia; Sonata in D minor; Suite for Solo Viola / Rudolf Haken, viola; Rachel Jensen, piano

Album Summary

>Haken, Rudolf : Polonaise for viola & piano
>Haken, Rudolf : Für Fritz, for viola & piano
>Haken, Rudolf : Fantasia for viola & piano in F sharp minor
>Haken, Rudolf : Suite for viola in A minor
>Haken, Rudolf : Sonata for viola & piano in D minor
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Rudolf Haken is currently Professor of Viola at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was born in 1965, and was a child prodigy who conducted his own orchestral music at the age of ten and had the good sense to select the viola as his primary instrument at an early age. He has become an outstanding concert artist, a bold and exciting performer whohas toured internationally to great success. His viola works, many written in the lush and dramatic style of the late 19th century, are distinguished by a sensuous lyricism, an exuberant sense of humor, a natural and thorough mastery of compositional technique, and above all an intimate understanding of the technical and expressive capabilities of the viola. All of these virtues are displayed magnificently in this new CD consisting of his music for viola and viola and piano.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Foellinger Great Hall, Krannert Center for the Performi (05/1999).



Reviews

Well worth a listen
This is a great time for classical music. It's not only post-tonal, but it's post-atonal as well. Composers don't have to worry about sounding new-fangled or old-fashioned. They just have to create music that's worth listening to.

That thought came to me as I listened to this recording. Rudolf Haken's musical language is just a little north of post-romantic while remaining imaginative and authentic. And yes, it's worth listening to.

Haken's also an accomplished violist, which makes this release doubly interesting. Haken wrote these works between the ages of 15 and 25, and there's a certain youthful energy and directness to them.

Although all the works have an immediate appeal, there were two I especially took notice of. The first is the 1981 Suite in A minor for solo viola. It's clearly modeled on the Bach cello suites. Haken masterfully creates both melody and harmony with his single instrument, and sometimes counter-melodies as well. Each of the six movements is less than two minutes in length, the music distilled down to its essence.

The second is the substantial Sonata in D minor. This 30-minute work uses chromaticism effectively to up the emotional content of the music. To my ears, there's a distinctively American quality to the work, especially in the slow movement. Haken has a real melodic gift, and there are long, flowing passages where the viola seems to sing.

Romancing the Viola is well worth a listen, whether you're interested in the possibilities of the instrument, or wanting to explore a more tonal side of contemporary music.
Submitted on 12/09/16 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Haken, Rudolf : Polonaise for viola & piano
  • Performers: Rudolf Haken (Viola); Rachel Jensen (Piano)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1990

>Haken, Rudolf : Für Fritz, for viola & piano
  • Performers: Rudolf Haken (Viola); Rachel Jensen (Piano)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1980

>Haken, Rudolf : Fantasia for viola & piano in F sharp minor
  • Performers: Rudolf Haken (Viola); Rachel Jensen (Piano)
  • Running Time: 17 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1981

>Haken, Rudolf : Suite for viola in A minor
  • Performers: Rudolf Haken (Viola); Rachel Jensen (Piano)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1981

>Haken, Rudolf : Sonata for viola & piano in D minor
  • Performers: Rudolf Haken (Viola); Rachel Jensen (Piano)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1981