Magazine article Gramophone

Zimmermann Plays Violin and Arpeggione Music on Her Viola

Magazine article Gramophone

Zimmermann Plays Violin and Arpeggione Music on Her Viola

Article excerpt

Brahms * Franck * Schubert

Brahms Viola Sonata, Op 120 No 1 Franck Viola

(Violin) Sonata Schubert Arpeggione Sonata, D821

Tabea Zimmermann va Kirill Gerstein pf

Myrios (F) MYR008 (73' * DDD/DSD)

It is understandable that Tabea Zimmermann should be completely at home recording these works on the viola, for each one has something special to say on this instrument. In particular the two central movements of Brahms's F minor Sonata (which is also available for the clarinet), the lovely Andante and the equally memorable, contrasting Allegretto, both sound especially appealing on the viola. Schubert's melancholy Arpeggione Sonata was written for an all-but-forgotten instrument (someone should build one so that we can hear what it sounded like), but its moments of Schubertian melancholy are caught perfectly here, as is the contrasting, lightly graceful material in the first movement. The chorale-like Adagio, played not too solemnly, also suits the viola especially well, and the performance here is gently spellbinding, with the finale appropriately lighter in texture and feeling. (What a catchy pair of main themes, too!)

The Franck Sonata was given by its composer as a passionate wedding present to Eugene Ysaye, and if playing the opening on the viola softens its character, once Zimmermann and Gerstein get going, all its passionate impulse is fully revealed. And that lovely drooping secondary theme is made totally haunting on the 'softer' instrument. The Recitativo third movement is similarly delicate, and the full lyricism of the famous main tune of the finale is richly conveyed by both artists, with the coda splendidly done. …

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