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Russian Viola Sonatas / works by Baigerva, Winkler & Juon / Eliesha Nelson, viola

> Suite for viola and piano, Op. 8 - I. Allegro agitato
> Suite for viola and piano, Op. 8 - II. Andantino
> Suite for viola and piano, Op. 8 - III. Scherzo: Presto
> Suite for viola and piano, Op. 8 - IV. Moderato
> Deux Morceaux (2 Pieces), Op. 31 - No. 1. Elegicka meditacia
> Deux Morceaux (2 Pieces), Op. 31 - No. 2. Vl' cik
> Viola Sonata No. 1 in D major, Op. 15 - I. Moderato
> Viola Sonata No. 1 in D major, Op. 15 - II. Adagio assai e molto cantabile
> Viola Sonata No. 1 in D major, Op. 15 - III. Allegro moderato
> Viola Sonata, Op. 10 - I. Moderato
> Viola Sonata, Op. 10 - II. Allegro agitato
> Viola Sonata, Op. 10 - II. L'istesso tempo ma poco rubato
> Viola Sonata, Op. 10 - III. Variations sur un air Breton: Theme: Andante
> Viola Sonata, Op. 10 - III. Variations sur un air Breton: Variation 1: L'istesso tempo poco rubato
> Viola Sonata, Op. 10 - III. Variations sur un air Breton: Variation 2: Allegretto
> Viola Sonata, Op. 10 - III. Variations sur un air Breton: Variation 3: Allegreo patetico
> Viola Sonata, Op. 10 - III. Variations sur un air Breton: Variation 4: Andante molto espressivo
> Viola Sonata, Op. 10 - III. Variations sur un air Breton: Variation 5: Allegro con fuoco
> Viola Sonata, Op. 10 - III. Variations sur un air Breton: Variation 6: Andante sostenuto
> Viola Sonata, Op. 10 - III. Variations sur un air Breton: Variation 7: Fuga: Allegro moderato
> Viola Sonata, Op. 10 - III. Variations sur un air Breton: Coda: Poco piu animato - Maestoso pesante

Album Summary

>Gaigerova, Varvara : Suite for viola & piano, Op. 8
>Winkler, Alexander : Pieces (2) for viola & piano, Op. 31
>Juon, Paul : Sonata for viola & piano in D major, Op. 15
>Winkler, Alexander : Sonata for viola & piano in C minor, Op. 10
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

A follow up to last year's critically acclaimed Quincy Porter: Complete Viola Works, Russian Viola Sonatas highlights yet another side to the brilliance and passion of one of the world's finest and Multi-GRAMMY® nominated violist Eliesha Nelson. Here Neslon teams up with pianist Glen Inanga to present a unique and eclectic program of early 20th century Russian viola masterworks - bridging pre-Revolutionary Russian viola pieces and early Soviet period compositions with 2 world premiere recordings. The album begins with a world premiere recording of "Suite for Viola and Piano, Op. 8" by Varvara Gaigerova. Gaigerova (1903-1944) was the first significant Soviet woman composer. This piece is followed by the very rarely recorded "Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 15" by Paul Juon (1872-1940). Another Moscow Conservatory graduate, Juon studied with Arensky and Taneyev. He was known as the "Russian Brahms". The album concludes with another world premiere recording; Alexander Winkler's "Sonata 0p. 10".

American Record Guide
All of this music is very beautiful and gets more serious as it goes along. Nelson and Inanga are musically sensitive players, and it is a pleasure to hear them taking on such an unusual program. Most of the pieces are folk-influenced and all are highly enjoyable.

Strings Magazine
... a collection of highly emotive works by such lesser-known composers... dark and lush and steeped in the yearning spirit of the Russian soul.

Fanfare
Ingratiating, unfamiliar repertoire and bravura playing by both Eliesha Nelson and Glen Inanga make this a very enjoyable disc.

Fanfare
Eliesha Nelson's viola has a warm, cream-laden tone. When you hear her play Gaigerova's sensuous, heartstoppingly beautiful music, you wonder why we have not heard these works before... Nelson brings out the luminous textures of this music with her engaging artistry. Her pianist, Glen Inanga, who plays a Steinway concert grand, is a most skillful partner. His contributions add greatly to the value of this disc. So does the clear and immediate sound of Sono Luminus engineers Daniel Shores and Dan Merceruio... the composer takes a beautiful folk tune and displays it in various guises: fast, slow, light, heavy, etc. It's fun to listen to and you will notice that this finely crafted work is played with accuracy and precision.

Allmusic.com
Joined by pianist Glen Inanga, Nelson presents a surprising program of four works for viola and piano... Each of the compositions are idiomatically written for the viola, focusing on the instrument's strengths of dark, rich, tone and melancholy sonorities, and while none of the works are overly memorable, they are each enjoyable and certainly worthy of recognition. Nelson and Inanga do tremendous justice to their program with convincing, energized, committed playing. Nelson's sound is sensuously deep and powerful... This disc is a must-have for viola fans, and a great choice for anyone interested in well-executed chamber music.

Infodad.com
Nelson and Inanga have clearly studied these works carefully and internalized their salient elements: the performances not only sound very good but also seem quite idiomatic, even though neither performer is even a bit Russian - Nelson comes from Alaska and Inanga from England. Taken together, the Russian disc and that featuring 18th-century concertos show to just how great an extent the neglect of the viola has turned into an appreciation of its unique and very beautiful sound.

Cleveland Plain Dealer
Once again, the Cleveland Orchestra violist has unearthed obscure but highly valuable musical treasures, this time from turn-of-the-century Russia, and brought them to life through animated, richly expressive performances with virtuoso pianist Glen Inanga. In Nelson, both violists and general-interest listeners alike have a true champion. Grade: A

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, Virginia (12/27/2010-12/30/2010).



Reviews

Marvelously warm music
This recording consists four pieces of Russian origin circa 1900, written for Viola and Piano. And this instrument combination lends itself particularly well to somber and heartfelt melodies. Ms. Nelson’s warm and feeling viola is well complimented by Mr. Inanga’s piano, both instruments engaging in an emotional dialog that is at times playful, and at other times somberly Russian without seeming full of angst.

The first piece is Gaigerova’s Suite for Viola and Piano No. 8, and I can attest that this piece is a fine accompaniment to a rainy evening at home. There is tremendous emotional power in the piece, beautifully expressed by the two performers, without going over the top into a land of dissonance. The 2nd movement is particularly suggestive of a shared reminiscence along the lines of, “ah…what could have been…”. It’s wonderful. The dirge-like 4th movement has depth and fits well with the overall mood of the piece without descending into an abject sense of gloom and doom.

The “Two Pieces for Viola and Piano, Op. 31” by Alexander Winkler starts off with a Meditation Elegiaque that is filled with pathos, but not just abject despair. It is hard to describe – you just have to hear it. The second piece is lively, spritely, and uplifting, and the listener can tell that the performers are having great fun playing it.

The Sonata in D Major, Op. 15 from Paul Juon is somewhat haunting and, as the liner notes say, tumultuous, but is overall extremely cohesive and very moving. And the final piece on the disc, the Sonata in C minor, Op. 10 by Winkler is at times agitated, introspective, energetic, heartwarming, positive, and very much organic. And it is lovely.

The liner notes give additional background on the three composers whose pieces are featured, as well as the performers themselves. They are clear and definitely add to the understanding and enjoyment of the recording as a whole. If you like warm emotional music with a Russian bent and without a lot of dissonance, you will like this recording.

Submitted on 12/05/11 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Gaigerova, Varvara : Suite for viola & piano, Op. 8
  • Performers: Glen Inanga (Piano); Eliesha Nelson (Viola)
  • Notes: Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, Virginia (12/27/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Winkler, Alexander : Pieces (2) for viola & piano, Op. 31
  • Performers: Glen Inanga (Piano); Eliesha Nelson (Viola)
  • Notes: Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, Virginia (12/27/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic

>Juon, Paul : Sonata for viola & piano in D major, Op. 15
  • Performers: Glen Inanga (Piano); Eliesha Nelson (Viola)
  • Notes: Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, Virginia (12/27/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Winkler, Alexander : Sonata for viola & piano in C minor, Op. 10
  • Performers: Glen Inanga (Piano); Eliesha Nelson (Viola)
  • Notes: Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, Virginia (12/27/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 27 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic