Music for Viola and Piano

Friday, April 1st
7:30 PM

$25 standard
$15 for under 18s/students

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Benjamin Britten

Frank Bridge
Two Pieces for Viola and Piano: ‘Pensiero’ and ‘Allegro Apassionata’

Arthur Bliss
Sonata for Viola and Piano, op. 91

Paul Hindemith

Paul Hindemith
Sonata for Viola and Piano, op. 11 no. 4

Despite the warm beauty of its sound, the Viola is not often heard as a solo recital instrument. However, throughout the twentieth century, many great composers have contributed master-works to the instrument’s repertoire, and some of the most important of these are featured on tonight’s program.

Britten’s Lachrymae, written in 1950, is a set of haunting reflections on a melody of John Dowland (1563-1626). Britten’s compatriot Frank Bridge (1879-1941) played the Viola, but wrote very little for the instrument. The two pieces on tonight’s program were first published in 1908.

Sir Arthur Bliss wrote his large-scale Viola Sonata in 1933 for the great english violist Lionel Tertis. The piece is deeply romantic in nature, with a distinctly english sounding harmonic language.

Of all the twentieth century composers to identify with the viola, none wrote more for the instrument than Paul Hindemith, who was an excellent violist himself. The Trauermusik (Music of Mourning) was written and performed in a single day (January 21th, 1936), to mark the death of King George V, who had died the evening before. Hindemith had been scheduled to play a concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, but the concert was cancelled upon the news of the king’s death being announced. Instead, the BBC asked Hindemith to write a piece to be broadcast over the radio in memory of the king, and Trauermusik was the product. The Sonata, op. 11 no. 4, is one of Hindemith’s best known works. It was written in 1919, and marked Hindemith’s decision to set down the Violin as his primary instrument in favor of the Viola.