What a delight to discover this new CD! Both players, Roger Benedict on the viola and Timothy Young on the piano, are excellent musicians as well as technicians. The viola sings with beautiful clear sound and never lacks in finesse. Benedict, whose sound is always present and produces a panoply of wonder sound-colours, underlines harmony changes with vibrato changes and transports us into a world of atmosphere and beauty. Young balances perfectly well with the viola and both underline the wit as well as the melancholy or meditative aspects of the music interpreted.
The sound recording, as such, is brilliantly done. Both instruments give the impression of being close by; neither one gets put back or seems secondary. We are allowed to encounter a wonderful partnership in which each musician knows and takes their musical role: singing out, accompanying, helping or complementing each other.
I listened several times to the CD and never got bored. The choice of pieces is interesting and the order of the pieces is diversified enough to keep a good pace when listening. We are fortunate to hear all this relatively new, rarely played and hardly ever recorded repertoire.
Charles Koechlin’s music has a very meditative character to it. If it weren’t for the brilliantly played second movement Scherzo of the Sonata op 53, we would get the feeling that everything is quite slow and clam, but specially beautiful.
The symbiosis of the different sound-colours of the horn, viola and piano in the following Quatre petites pieces is amazing, and I can’t remember having ever heard such a blend of perfect sound balance before.
Joseph Jongen’s works are harmonically rich, technically quite demanding for both violinist and pianist, and stylistically an interesting tribute to the music composed at the beginning of the 20th century. All in all, this new CD is a wonderful addition to anyone’s CD collection, and a must for every violist!