STEVEN MACKEY (b.1956): Ground Swell for Viola and Ensemble (American Modern Ensemble; Steven Mackey), SHIH-HUI CHEN (b.1962): Remembrance for Viola and Orchestra (Evergreen Symphony Orchestra; Gernot Schmalfuss), POUL RUDERS (b.1949): 6 Romances for Viola and Piano, GEORGE BENJAMIN (b.1960): Viola, Viola for 2 Violas, ELLIOTT CARTER (1908-2012): Figment IV for Viola Solo.
Catalogue Number: 01O077
Description: A nicely varied program of new music that places the viola in various contexts that emphasize its expressive versatility. Mackey's suite consists of seven impressions of Italy, with the viola eloquently narrating the trip while the ensemble provides lighthearted vernacular suggestions of local color. The six brief, delicate pieces by Ruders suggest strong emotions hinted at in enigmatic diary entries. The Benjamin duo allows the instrument a more extrovert personality in a work of strong rhythmic drive, while the Carter creates considerable tension from limited material, with the suggestion of several lines of argument proceeding simultaneously. Shih-Hui Chen's Remembrance is a miniature viola concerto, based on a traditional Chinese folk melody, evoking the stylized gestures of Chinese opera against a warmly modal orchestral backdrop. Hsin-Yun Huang (viola), Sarah Rothenberg (piano), Misha Amory (second viola).