JOSEF TAL (1910-2008): Viola Sonata, Duo for Viola and Piano, Suite for Solo Viola, Perspective for Solo Viola.
Catalogue Number: 09U053
Description: Tal was a composer and musical thinker with wide horizons; he wrote in most genres including symphonies and operas, and made pioneering developments in electronic music. He was a student of Hindemith, and these viola works display a meticulous concern for clarity and concision, shared with his teacher. What is not shared, however, is a concern for tonality; Tal's idiom was predominantly atonal throughout most of his career, and remarkably consistent across the span of five decades represented here. Broadly, some progression within this style is detectable; the 1940 Suite, a substantial four-movement work structured somewhat as a sonata, has gestures and instrumental figuration that recall elements of Romanticism, and the Tango, effectively the work's scherzo, is appealingly humorous. The Sonata and Duo, from the 1960s, are sparer of texture and harmony, finding the composer at his most post-Webernian, and the late Perspective (1996) introduces a degree of rhapsodic freedom, though in no less uncompromising a vocabulary. Hartmut Rohde (viola), Christian Seibert (piano).