1 800 222 6872

Brahms: Viola Sonatas, etc / Power, Crawford-Phillips, Hugh

Album Summary

>Brahms, Johannes : Sonata for clarinet (or viola) & piano no 1 in F minor, Op. 120/1
>Brahms, Johannes : Trio for clarinet (or viola), cello & piano in A minor, Op. 114
>Brahms, Johannes : Sonata for clarinet (or viola) & piano no 2 in E flat major, Op. 120/2
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"Given the excellence of the present performance from Power, Crawford-Phillips, and Hugh there would seem little point in looking elsewhere.

'It is hard to remember, when listening to this superb disc, that the three works, Brahms's last, were written with the clarinet in mind. Power is among the most persuasive instrumentalists of our day, and, with his unremitting eloquence, could make you believe the viola was a trombone, but his communicativeness is a matter of the deepest feeling. The andante un poco adagio movement of the F minor sonata is infinitely touching, with a pathos that seems to go to the viola's heart, though the stocism, defiance and even exuberance with which the persuasive wistfulness of these works is contrasted are just as authentically rendered' (Sunday Times)

'When you hear Brahms' chamber music played by someone as charismatic as Power, you realise how consistently inspired it is - and how much more intimate it sounds on viola ... Power's warm, unshowy musicianship is something special, ably supported here by Tim Hugh and Simon Crawford-Phillips' (Financial Times)

'Lawrence Power and Simon Crawford-Phillips are a refined and imaginative duo, phrasing with a true Brahmsian breadth, yet never lingering indulgently. A solo viola can easily sound nasal and querulous. Power's tone, though, is consistently beautiful: pure, burnished and expressively coloured' (Daily Telegraph)

'Lawrence Power, the superb British violist, has been putting his underrated instrument back on the solo map in a big way ... The viola has an expressivity that is all its own. It's an intelligent, well-paced account with plenty of passion - and Power often lives up to his name. He's especially striking in the quietest, highest moments, playing with rapt and hypnotic finesse. Tim Hugh is a sympathetic cello partner in the trio, while pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips offers good support throughout' (Classic FM Magazine)

'In Lawrence Power's hands the extensive use of the viola's upper register poses no problem; he commands a wide tonal spectrum throughout his range, and there's no sense of strain ... this is a very fine performance, of exceptional expressive range, from extreme delicacy to thrilling power ... I particularly enjoyed, in the Second Sonata, the second movement's dark passion, where Simon Crawford-Phillips manages exactly to convey Brahms' forte me dolce e ben cantando. The final variations are just as impressive, each one so well characterised (listen out for Power's graceful agility in Var 3)yet perfectly paced so that the coda seems an inevitable climax to the whole work' (Gramophone)

'The best tonal contrasts come in the revamped Trio, Op 114, with its subtle interplay between Power's viola, Tim Hugh's cello and the piano of Simon Crawford-Phillips. Musically and emotionally, it treads a claustrophobic path; but the musicianship lights the sky' (The Times)

'... Power makes a convincing case for these as arrangements - more so than other recommended versions. His tone is strong, never whiny (as violas can be)but capable of some variety in colour and expression. Power's musical relationship with Simon Crawford-Phillips, and especially with Tim Hugh in the trio, gives a lot of pleasure' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Lawrence Power and Simon Crawford-Phillips bring a much broader expressive and dynamic range to bear on these timeless scores, so that when Brahms turns truly introspective ... the effect is quite magical when all around is so passionate and fiery ... Another winning disc from Hyperion' (International Record Review)

'Lawrence Power is such a superlative artist ... [his] playing is so full of imagination, sensitivity and gorgeously ample phrasing' (The Guardian)

'Lawrence Power can be heard to far greater effect in Brahms' two late viola sonatas and a rarity: the viola version approved by the composer of his Clarinet Trio. Power has a glorious tone and an instinctive understanding of this autumnal music and is well-partnered by the pianist, Simon Crawford-Phillips' (Mail on Sunday)

'Lawrence Power possède une belle sonorité et une intonation admirable ... Le Trio, que l'on entend fréquement dans sa version pour clarinette, violoncelle et piano, trouve un meilleur équilibre avec la participation engagée du violoncelliste Tim Hugh, qui soutient avec chaleur l'alto dans ses envolées lyriques' (Pizzicato)

'This is another marvellous CD from Hyperion bringing together the works Brahms composed for that Cinderella of instruments, the viola. Lawrence Power is one of the foremost violists of the day at the moment and he is superbly supported by cellist Tim Hugh and the discerning accompanist Simon Crawford Phillips. The two sonatas are romantic works full of that nostalgic longing for youth from a composer who was nearing the end of his days when they were composed. Power plays with a disarming simplicity yet he plumbs the deepest depths of expressive interpretation which reaches the core of Brahms' thoughts. The recorded sound is beautifully balanced with viola and piano merging as one. The same could be said of the wonderful Trio in A minor which includes the contribution of Tim Hugh who brings a soulful panache to the cello part. Apart from the sheer towering achievement of the soloists, the disc is also highly recommended for Malcolm Macdonald's excellent notes which show his intense admiration of these great autumnal works by Brahms. This must now be the definitive disc for those who want Brahms' works for viola grouped together' (Classical.net)

'Such is Power's command of expression that there is no danger of the instrumental dialogue becoming muddled, or of his - yes - powerful tone being swamped by the thickly written piano part. Of course, Simon Crawford-Phillips's discretion and the recording's excellent balance help too. Indeed, Hyperion's warm, enveloping acoustic is a major bonus in this recording. Another one is a beautifully lyrical rendition of the Trio, which hasn't often been recorded in the viola version. Power and Tim Hugh are closely matched and yet sufficiently contrasted with each other' (The Strad)

'Power draws a smooth honeyed tone from his uncredited viola ... These are excellent performances, no question, and Hyperion achieves an ideal balance between the instruments' (Fanfare, USA)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Viola players have reason to be grateful to Brahms for giving them the chance to perform the two Op 120 sonatas, originally for clarinet. It's less well known that he similarly provided a viola part as alternative to clarinet for the Op 114 Trio. For the sonatas he reworked the part, adding a few chords and double stops, as well as transposing some of it downwards (to exploit the instrument's generally lower tessitura) but in the Trio he contented himself with a simple transcription. In Lawrence Power's hands the extensive use of the viola's upper register poses no problem; he commands a wide tonal spectrum throughout his range, and there's no sense of strain. The Trio does lose something without clarinet, sounding more monochrome as the viola and cello blend together. This blending can, of course, be an advantage - the two string instruments in octaves, in the Adagio, make a wonderful sound. And this is a very fine performance, of exceptional expressive range, from extreme delicacy to thrilling power.

The sonatas as played here will surely demonstrate (even to clarinettists) that the viola version is in no way second best. Particularly enjoyble in the Second Sonata, is the second movement's dark passion, relieved by glowing intensity in the middle section, where Simon Crawford-Phillips manages exactly to convey Brahms's forte ma dolce e ben cantando. The final variations are just as impressive, each one so well characterised yet perfectly paced so that the coda seems an inevitable climax to the whole work.



Reviews

There are currently no reviews, be the first one!
Login or Create an Account to write a review
 

Also Purchased

Works Details

>Brahms, Johannes : Sonata for clarinet (or viola) & piano no 1 in F minor, Op. 120/1
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Wathen Hall, St. Paul's School, Barnes, London, England (05/28/2006-05/30/2006)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1894

>Brahms, Johannes : Trio for clarinet (or viola), cello & piano in A minor, Op. 114
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Timothy Hugh (Cello); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Wathen Hall, St. Paul's School, Barnes, London, England (05/28/2006-05/30/2006)
  • Running Time: 23 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1891

>Brahms, Johannes : Sonata for clarinet (or viola) & piano no 2 in E flat major, Op. 120/2
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Wathen Hall, St. Paul's School, Barnes, London, England (05/28/2006-05/30/2006)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1894