Classical downloading

A musical discovery for the viola

James JollySun 21st March 2010
Tabea Zimmermann "Solo"Tabea Zimmermann "Solo"

Stumbling across the Max Reger suites

 

The combination of the words “Max Reger” and “solo viola” is not, I’d guess, something that sets the average pulse racing! Or so I thought until the other day when planning a week’s worth of radio programme on the theme of the viola I stumbled across Reger’s three suites for solo viola in a recording played by the wonderful Tabea Zimmermann. You can find them on eMusic, iTunes and no doubt other sites too. There’s something so direct about a single stringed instrument playing unaccompanied – there’s no barrier between player and listener, and the ability to touch in some pretty rich harmonies into what we usually think of as a “single-line” instrument gives it a quite extraordinary power. Harmonically obviously from a much later age than Bach, the Reger suites have the same purity of utterance and spareness as the Bach originals (and Zimmermann gives us a couple of transcribed Bach cello suites as if to close the gap of some 150 years). I particularly like the First Suite with its improvisatory first movement – never again will I jump to conclusions based purely on a composer’s name (palindromic though it may be!). 

 

 

 

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