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Bowen, Forsyth: Viola Concertos / Power, Brabbins, etc

Album Summary

>Bowen, York : Concerto for Viola in C minor, Op. 25
>Forsyth, Cecil : Concerto for Viola in G minor
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Lawrence Power is fast emerging as the foremost viola player of a new generation. The lyrical drama and versatility of his performances have won him invitations to perform as soloist with top orchestras worldwide. This significant new recording presents two viola concertos whose relative obscurity belies their cultural significance and musical worth.

'this new performance [Bowen] is beyond criticism ... the performance [Forsyth] is everything one could desire and the recording is wonderfully ripe and glowing to match. A fascinating coupling: hearty congratulations to all' (Gramophone)

'Power blows clean out of the water any preconceptions of the viola being some kind of lumbering violin. His effortless technical dexterity and clean-focused sound throughout the range (his upper notes are simply glorious) are also straight out of the Primrose copy-book. Even in a world overflowing with string players who can seemingly play anything at the drop of a hat, Power has that extra charismatic dimension which has the listener hanging on to his every note' (International Record Review)

'York Bowen's concerto is quirky and gently eccentric, full of unlikely harmonic twists and creatively stretching demands on soloist and orchestra. But the ardent and lucid Power is the real star of the disc' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Bowen likes to unfold long, flowing melodies, to which he imparts an almost Straussian buoyancy and glow. Lawrence Power relishes these and brings wit and flair to the solo line' (The Strad)

'the real discovery of this disc for me was Lawrence Power: a player of strength and delicacy, precision and poetry, who makes a strongest possible case for both pieces. The recording balances him well against the BBC Scottish Orchestra, conducted by the astonishingly versatile Martyn Brabbins, who sounds as involved as Power throughout both concertos' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Once again Power and Martyn Brabbins make the strongest possible advocates, and this excellently produced release enjoys splendid sound to make the most of the musical rewards of the Bowen' (The Classical Source)

'Lawrence Power is an exceptional player and makes the material sound wonderful. Congratulations all round to conductor, orchestra and engineers too' (Manchester Evening News)

'Lawrence Power is a consummate artist and clearly heir to the long and honoured tradition of Tertis, Primrose, and Trampler. He produces a full, robust, and confident tone that is seething with emotion and that finds an ideal home in these neglected works ... Brabbins's leadership is strong; he succeeds in getting the orchestra to produce and exquisite sound characterized by subtle nuances and the most subtle gradations of colour imaginable. If that's not enough, the icing on this delectable cake is the wonderful acoustical setting offered by Caird Hall, Dundee' (Fanfare, USA)

'Lawrence Power shows that he is every inch the soloist, with excellent tonal control and perfect intonation from one end of his instrument to the other' (American Record Guide)

'It really is a joy to listen to. You'll love the finale in particular, with its delicate use of percussion and feisty exchanges between solo and orchestra. Ideally warm, well-balanced sound completes a release of truly unusual distinction' (Classics Today USA)

'Hyperion is yet again to be praised for an exceptional recording of largely unknown repertoire ... The liner notes by Lewis Foreman offer keen insight into the lives of both composers and their work ... The performances are consistently strong and convincing. In short, this is an exceptionally fine recording of two important viola concertos from this end of the Romantic era' (Nineteenth-Century Music Review)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
During the decade leading up to the First World War, York Bowen, one of the brightest and most prolific young talents in British music, produced no fewer than three piano concertos, two symphonies, a concert overture, Symphonic Fantasia, Concertstücke for piano and orchestra and a tone-poem, The Lament of Tasso. His exquisitely polished and sure-footed Viola Concerto in C minor was written for Lionel Tertis (viola professor at the Royal Academy of Music), who first performed it in March 1908. Lasting nearly 36 minutes, each of its three movements serves up a heady flow of intoxicating melody, all clothed in the deftest orchestral garb (there's a definite Russian tang to proceedings - Bowen clearly knew and loved his Tchaikovsky, Borodin and Rimsky-Korsakov). This new performance is beyond criticism. Not only does Lawrence Power effortlessly surmount every technical challenge, he forms a scintillating parternship with Martyn Brabbins and an uncommonly well-prepared BBC Scottish SO.

A pupil of Stanford, Greenwich-born Cecil Forsyth (1870-1941) played the viola in Henry Wood's Queen's Hall Orchestra (as, indeed, did Bowen) before emigrating to the USA in 1914. His G minor Concerto (in all likelihood the first for viola by a British composer) was premiered in 1903 by the French virtuoso (and its dedicatee) Emile Férir. Beside its its present companion it strikes a rather more conventional note, but remains an appealingly lyrical and sturdily crafted achievement. The performance is everything one could desire, and the recording is wonderfully ripe and glowing.


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Works Details

>Bowen, York : Concerto for Viola in C minor, Op. 25
  • Performer: Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
  • Ensemble: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland (11/11/2004/11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 36 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1908

>Forsyth, Cecil : Concerto for Viola in G minor
  • Performer: Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
  • Ensemble: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland (11/11/2004/11/12/2004)
  • Running Time: 26 min. 23 sec.
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1903