ROSS LEE FINNEY (1906-1997): Viola Sonata No. 2, GEORGE WALKER (b.1922): Viola Sonata, NIKOLAI KAPUSTIN (b.1937): Viola Sonata, Op. 69, JOHN MCLAUGHLIN WILLIAMS (b.1957): 2 Pieces for Solo Viola, JEFFREY MUMFORD (b.1955): Wending.
Catalogue Number: 04Q066
Label: Sono Luminus
Description: The major work in this recital is Finney's magnificent four-movement sonata. Although loosely based on dodecaphonic principles, this eloquent work is actually in a highly chromatic, late romantic idiom, and much of it could be expressed in terms of tonality. The passionate first movement, structured loosely on sonata form, is followed by a vigorous, tough little scherzo with a waltz-like trio, a slow movement full of soaring melody and a tense, harmonically ambiguous finale that seems to restlessly searching for new expressive territory. Kapustin's Sonata is a substantial work in three movements, sharing with the majority of his chamber works a greater degree of Russian seriousness and less of a sense of written-out jazz improvisation than his celebrated piano works, though as always the jazz influence is strongly present providing a lively rhythmic impetus and an unmistakable harmonic coloration. Walker describes his Sonata as atonal, but in truth it's not much more so than the Finney. The two-movement structure is unified by the metamorphosis of themes presented in the first movement, further varied in the longer second. Mumford's piece is freely rhapsodic, texturally intricate and technically challenging, while Williams' are more conventionally tonal, with an harmonically updated neo-baroque feel; the Dies irae sneaks into the toccata, presumably acknowledging the diabolical associations of this kind of virtuosic string writing. Eliesha Nelson (violin), James Howsmon (piano). CD + Blu-ray Audio disc