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Rolla: Sonatas for Viola and Piano

> Viola Sonata No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 3, BI 325 - I. Allegro moderato
> Viola Sonata No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 3, BI 325 - II. Lento
> Viola Sonata No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 3, BI 325 - III. Rondo: Allegro con espressione
> Duetto No. 1 for Violin and Viola in A major, Op. 18, No. 1, BI 95 - I. Romanza: Andantino
> Duetto No. 1 for Violin and Viola in A major, Op. 18, No. 1, BI 95 - II. Allegretto brillante
> Duetto No. 1 for Violin and Viola in A major, Op. 18, No. 1, BI 95 - III. Tema con Variazioni: Andantino mosso
> Duetto No. 1 for Violin and Viola in A major, Op. 18, No. 1, BI 95 - IV. Allegro bizzaro
> Viola Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op. 3, BI 324 - I. Allegro con moto
> Viola Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op. 3, BI 324 - II. Rondo: Allegro
> 3 Esercizi (Capricci) for Viola, BI 311, 313, 314 - Esercizio (Capriccio) No. 1 in F major, BI 313
> 3 Esercizi (Capricci) for Viola, BI 311, 313, 314 - Esercizio (Capriccio) No. 2 in E flat major, BI 311
> 3 Esercizi (Capricci) for Viola, BI 311, 313, 314 - Esercizio e Arpeggio in G major (Capriccio No. 3), BI 314
> Viola Sonata No. 3 in C major, BI 323 - I. Allegro
> Viola Sonata No. 3 in C major, BI 323 - II. Romance: Andante
> Viola Sonata No. 3 in C major, BI 323 - III. Prestissimo

Album Summary

>Rolla, Alessandro : Sonata for viola & piano, in E flat major, Op. 3/1
>Rolla, Alessandro : Duetto, for violin and viola, in A major, Op. 18/1
>Rolla, Alessandro : Sonata for viola & piano, in D minor, Op. 3/2
>Rolla, Alessandro : Esercizio (Caprice) no 1 for viola, BI 313
>Rolla, Alessandro : Esercizio (Caprice) no 2 for viola, BI 311
>Rolla, Alessandro : Esercizio e Arpeggio (Caprice no 3) for viola in G major, BI 314
>Rolla, Alessandro : Sonata for viola & double bass in C major, BI 323
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Alessandro Rolla enjoyed a considerable reputation as a violinist, viola, conductor and composer during his lifetime, and is now best remembered as a teacher of Paganini. Rolla's contributions to the viola repertoire command the listener's attention with their melodiousness, Italianate brio and charm. Hailed by the Washington Post for the "opal-like beauty" and "phosphorescent energy" of her playing, young American violist Jennifer Stumm is internationally recognized as a musical innovator and dynamic advocate for her instrument.

American Record Guide
Jennifer Stumm, who teaches viola at the Royal College of Music, is a very polished and suave violist. She has all the technique these works demand and probably much more, she plays dead in tune, and her bowing is supple and lively. I would love to hear more from her. Her partners are also top-notch. Good sound.

MusicWeb International
Jennifer Stumm gives a fine performance on this disc, as befits her highlighted status, but so do Liza Ferschtman in the Duetto, and Connie Shih in the Sonatas. Sound quality at Potton Hall is of the highest quality; if only all chamber music could be recorded there!

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Potton Hall, Westleton, Suffolk, UK (03/07/2008-03/09/2008).



Reviews

This viola music is no joke!
Viola jokes. We’ve all heard them, and I’ve even told a few myself. Most likely they are the product of pure jealousy, because no other instrument can sound as ravishing or expressive, especially in the hands of a consummate virtuoso like Jennifer Stumm. In 1757, the year composer Alessandro Rolla was born, Handel put the finishing touches on his last oratorio (The Triumph of Time) and Mozart celebrated his first birthday, undoubtedly dashing off a symphony or two in honor of the occasion. Rolla lived on for some 84 years—long enough to champion the music of Beethoven in Italy and become an advocate for a young upstart named Giuseppe Verdi. Rolla was—beyond doubt—the finest violist of his time, and he pioneered many of the brilliant virtuoso techniques that were later exploited by his erstwhile pupil, Nicolo Paganini. As a conductor, Rolla regularly performed the new music of his day: the operas of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini. Yet his own compositions—at least those heard here—remain firmly rooted in the 18th century. Nothing in any of these scores would have disturbed Mozart. Even the scoring of the sonatas is pleasantly old-fashioned. They are written for viola and “basso”. In modern performance the bass line is sometimes taken by a second viola, a cello, or (as here) the piano. No matter; Rolla’s focus was always on the solo viola and its uncanny ability to charm even the most hard-hearted joker. The writing is invariably concise and compact. Rolla manages to say more in four minutes (the opening Allegro of the E-flat Sonata, for example) than most composers achieve over considerably longer time spans. Indeed no single movement here lasts longer than seven minutes, and every measure sings joyously. Undoubtedly Verdi himself would not have been ashamed to have penned the haunting Romance, the middle movement of the C Major Sonata. Even the three Exercises—clearly intended as teaching pieces—are filled with many delightful turns of phrase. The Duet is another gem in the bright, joyous key of A Major. It must be tremendous fun to play for both violists. The finale, oddly enough, is designated “Allegro bizzarro”, though the music hardly lives up to such an odd name. Ms. Stumm plays these delicacies with passion and total commitment. Her tone is creamier and more buttery than your Italian grandmother’s homemade carbonara sauce. And Stumm phrases as seamlessly as a seasoned gondolier serenading his passengers as they effortlessly glide across Venice’s Grand Canal. Moreover, Stumm is undaunted by the showy passage-work that Rolla flings at her without mercy, and she never allows these flourishes to undermine the beauty or impede the flow of the musical line. Ferschtman matches Stumm note for note in the Duet, while the self-effacing Ms. Shih handles her undistinguished piano accompaniment with considerable aplomb. The recorded sound is warm and plush, yet vividly detailed. Let’s hope that we soon have more of Rolla’s exceptional music from this eloquent source. Now have you heard the one about the violist who always played in tune? Nah, neither have I.
Submitted on 07/11/11 by Tom Godell 
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Works Details

>Rolla, Alessandro : Sonata for viola & piano, in E flat major, Op. 3/1
  • Performers: Jennifer Stumm (Viola); Connie Shih (Piano)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Westleton, Suffolk, UK (03/07/2008-03/09/2008)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical

>Rolla, Alessandro : Duetto, for violin and viola, in A major, Op. 18/1
  • Performers: Liza Ferschtman (Violin); Jennifer Stumm (Viola)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Westleton, Suffolk, UK (03/07/2008-03/09/2008)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical

>Rolla, Alessandro : Sonata for viola & piano, in D minor, Op. 3/2
  • Performers: Jennifer Stumm (Viola); Connie Shih (Piano)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Westleton, Suffolk, UK (03/07/2008-03/09/2008)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical

>Rolla, Alessandro : Esercizio (Caprice) no 1 for viola, BI 313
  • Performer: Jennifer Stumm (Viola)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Westleton, Suffolk, UK (03/07/2008-03/09/2008)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical

>Rolla, Alessandro : Esercizio (Caprice) no 2 for viola, BI 311
  • Performer: Jennifer Stumm (Viola)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Westleton, Suffolk, UK (03/07/2008-03/09/2008)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical

>Rolla, Alessandro : Esercizio e Arpeggio (Caprice no 3) for viola in G major, BI 314
  • Performer: Jennifer Stumm (Viola)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Westleton, Suffolk, UK (03/07/2008-03/09/2008)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical

>Rolla, Alessandro : Sonata for viola & double bass in C major, BI 323
  • Performers: Jennifer Stumm (Viola); Connie Shih (Piano)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Westleton, Suffolk, UK (03/07/2008-03/09/2008)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical