«Voices In The Wilderness: Works By Hans Gál and Ernst Krenek”
Suite for viola and piano, Op. 102a,
Impromptu for viola and piano,
Sonata for viola and piano, Op. 101.
Sonata for Solo Viola, Op. 92, No. 3,
Sonata for viola and piano, Op. 117.
Timothy Young (Piano), Benedicte Roger (Viola).
‘Voices in the Wilderness’ features three world premieres by Hans Gál – the Sonata for viola and piano op. 101, Impromptu for viola and piano, and Suite for viola and piano op. 102a – alongside music by Ernst Krenek. It’s a disc that Barry Humphries describes as a “miracle”.
Just as both Gál and Krenek were reaching creative maturity they were forced into exile from Nazi Germany: Gál reviled as a Jew and Krenek’s music banned and denounced as ‘degenerate’. Both were inextricably linked to the great musical traditions of their Viennese birthplace but in very different ways.
All the works here date from the 1940s when the two composers were taking their first steps on new soil; Gál in Britain where he settled in Edinburgh and Krenek in Los Angeles (though he was never to recapture there the notoriety generated by his opera ‘Jonny Spielt Auf’). The composers’ personalities shine through every note in Roger Benedict and Timothy Young’s performances; the acerbic and unrelenting focus of Krenek and the whimsy, sunshine and optimism of Gál’s musical fairy-tales.
The album follows the duo’s critically-acclaimed ‘Volupté’ and stands proudly alongside Benedict’s poetic performance of Vaughan Williams’ ‘Flos Campi’ with Mark Wigglesworth and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, both on Melba.
One of the premier violists of his generation, Roger Benedict, is acknowledged for his range as soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player, conductor and teacher. He joined the London Philharmonic at 22 and became Principal Viola of the Philharmonia Orchestra at 29. In 2002 he was appointed Principal Viola of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra where he has made a stellar contribution to Australian musical culture. As a soloist, his partners have included Sir Simon Rattle, Lorin Maazel, Leif Ove Andsnes, Julian Lloyd Webber and Osian Ellis.
Timothy Young is one of Australia’s leading pianists. His solo debut recording on Melba was the acclaimed ‘The Virtuoso Piano Music of George Frederick Boyle’. His other Melba CDs are ‘A Lotus Blossoming’ (with Ensemble Liaison), ‘Stravinsky: Diversions’ (with violinist Ray Chen) and, with soprano Cheryl Barker, ‘Pure Diva’.