FYODOR DRUZHININ (1934-2007): Sinfonia a due, GORDON JACOB (1895-1984): Sonatina, EDMUND RUBBRA (1904-1986): Meditations on a Byzantine Hymn “O Quando in Cruce”, Op. 117a, FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941): Lament, Arrangements by Vadim Borisovsky (1900-1972): Morning Serenade and Dance with Mandolins from Romeo and Juliet (Prokofiev), Waltz from Masquerade (Khatchaturian), Barcarolle (Pyotr Bulakhov [1824-1875]).

Catalogue Number: 05S056

Label: Meridian

Reference: CDE 84641

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Viola duo is probably not the ensemble that springs first to most people's minds, but it has a long and distinguished history from the Baroque forward, which was enhanced in the 20th century by figures such as Borisovsky in the Soviet Union and Tertis in England. Druzhinin was the violist with the Beethoven Quartet from 1964, and was the dedicatee of Shostakovich's late viola sonata. His substantial Sinfonia a due owes a certain amount to Shostakovich, in its tense chromaticism, the sardonic minuet that makes up the second movement, and the bleak, agitated, neurotic finale. Rubbra's serene Meditation explores the Byzantine crucifixion hymn in a series of movingly eloquent variations. Jacobs' little neoclassical Sonatina is elegant and charming, and Bridge's Lament, first performed by the composer with Tertis, is sonorous and poignant, with considerable emotional depth. The transcriptions by Borisovsky, Druzhinin's predecessor in the Beethoven Quartet, are masterly in their delightfully idiomatic reimagining of tuneful encore pieces. Peter Mallinson, Matthias Wiesner (violas), Evgenia Startseva (piano).

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