GMCD 7414 – Connections – Music for Viola & Piano

Ivo-Jan van der Werff (viola), Simon Marlow (piano)

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American Record Guide – September/October 2015

Two of the greatest works for viola and piano are here, Britten’s Lachrymae and Shostakovich’s sonata. These two works also appear together on a CD by Yuri Bashmet and Sviatoslav Richter (July/Aug 1998)—one of the greatest recitals ever recorded, and the performances of the Britten and Shostakovich are in a class by themselves. No other performances I know even come close, including this one.
I have never before heard Hollows and Dells by Canadian composer Karim Al-Zand (b 1970). It is a very mainstream modernist piece sounding like it could come from the mid-20th Century. The first two movements are based on British folk music and the central slow movement is based on the hymn tune Repton. The work is pleasant but not memorable.