ROBERT LACH (1874-1958): Sonatas for Viola d’amore and Piano No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 25, No. 2 in G, Op. 36 and No. 3 in E Flat, Op. 66, 9 Lyrische Stücke, Op. 23.
Catalogue Number: 08S030
Label: Brilliant Classics
Description: Composed between 1913 and 1923, these are just some of the works this Austrian musicologist and composer wrote for this ethereal-sounding instrument from the baroque period which achieved a small revival in the early years of the 20th century. Hindemith wrote for it too but Lach is quite conservative and late Romantic in his leanings; these are long (the slow movement of the second sonata is over 21 minutes long and the whole work itself is over 44 min.) and luxurious, with simple themes elongated and elaborated as time seems to stop in a soft, twilight world of fragrant forests and lavender clouds at sunset. This is what Edward G. Robinson’s character in “Soylent Green” should have been listening to while being euthanized rather than the Beethoven 6th. Fast movements are very short and the scherzos have a fairy-land, gossamer lightness. Romantic repertoire doesn’t get much more unusual than this. 2 CDs. Valerio Losito (viola d’amore), Jiao Chen (piano).