Rosalind Ventris : Sola: Music for Viola by Women Composers Review
Ventris chooses music for unaccompanied viola that was composed between 1930 (Imogen Holst’s impressive Suite for Viola) and the present day (a 2020 lockdown miniature by Thea Musgrave). The primarily British and Irish program features substantial works by important yet often overlooked twentieth-century composers, including Imogen Holst, Lillian Fuchs, Elizabeth Maconchy, Elisabeth Lutyens, and Grayna Bacewicz. In addition, Ventris includes current composers and their contribution to the repertoire with Thea Musgrave, Sally Beamish, and Amanda Feery. The result is a beautiful album filled with outstanding performance and composing.
“Kaprys Polski No. 1” is the first composition on the album. Composed by Bacewicz, the composition is a beautiful building exploration performed in a lyrical and relaxed manner. Ventris’ sonic variations between the themes register changes are outstanding. The playful B sections rhythmic figures and double stops are performed with energy and direction. Beacewicz’s composition has a natural flow. The last statement of the theme shows Ventris’ excellent technique during all the variations and ornamentations.
Maconchy’s Five Sketches for Solo Viola “Presto” is a marriage of spectacular viola performing and composing. With modern harmony and rhythmic flow, the piece is performed with a lively and witty style by Ventis. The composer’s cleverness truly comes into full flower throughout the movement with her wide textural and expressive variety. Ventris characterizes the tuneful theme with passion and cleanly playing the figurations with the utmost suppleness and agility.
Sola: Music for Viola by Women Composers is a fascinating journey brought to life by Ventris’ splendid viola performances. There is an intimacy and natural flow to each selection, as several of the composers themselves are professional string players. Classical music fans will love the rich tones of Ventris’ viola and getting to know these compositions. Ventris said, “Wonderful music – that just happens to be by women composers.” True that!
Sola: Music for Viola by Women Composers
January 27, 2023