Lawrence Power has established himself as the most sought-after violist of his generation and his sumptuous tone and persuasive interpretations have lead to many comparisons with the pioneering British violist Lionel Tertis. Indeed, the three works on this disc were written for Tertis, who did so much to broaden the instruments musical repertoire and raise its status to an accepted solo instrument. The two Vaughan Williams works display an unabashed romanticism and pastoral elegance. Flos Campi, meaning Flower of the field, was completed in 1925 and puzzled audiences with its ambiguous form and unusual orchestration. Despite the prominent solo viola and wordless chorus, it is neither a concerto nor a choral work. The seamless viola line moves in unity with the orchestra and the chorus appears as a body of instruments, creating an effect of mesmerizing beauty and calm. The little-performed Suite for viola and small orchestra was written ten years later and contains some of the composers most lyrical inventions. The lush orchestration and memorable themes in Sir John McEwens 1901 concerto expose this large-scale work as a neglected gem of the viola repertoire and Powers performance is sure to set a new benchmark. The BBC National Orchestra of Wales, under the expert and unfailingly sensitive guidance of Martyn Brabbins, provides expert backing throughout .
The performance seems to be of high quality:certainly,the seriousness and commitment of these musicians are considerable,and their musicanship and technical mastery are second to none. --IRR,Nov'11
Lawrence is the perfect advocate for both works,with his rich,warm,sensuous tone and flamboyant virtuosity. CD OF THE WEEK --Sunday Times,06/11/11
The compositions here were inspired by the virtuoso playing of Lionel Tertis (1876-1975) a matchless advocate of the songful, soulful viola not merely as the middle voice amid orchestra or quartet but as a solo instrument too. Lawrence Power, using an Italian viola made in 1610, plays with a tone as dark as a cello, and a technique as agile as a violinist's: the ideal combination. The largely neglected Scottish composer John Blackwood McEwen wrote his ambitious viola concerto in 1901 a lyrical, almost Brahmsian work worth discovering. RVW's luscious Flos Campi with chorus, orchestra and solo viola, and his Suite for viola and small orchestra complete the disc decidedly a favourite of 2011. --The Observer, Sunday 13 November 2011
Critics Choice 2011 --Gramophone,Dec'11
Chosen as one of the Top 100 Cds of 2011 --Sunday Times,11/12/11
Lawrence Power finds much to draw out in the Suite and Flos Campi. Performance **** Recording *** --BBC Music Magazine,Jan'12
Listening to this outstanding release, it seems incredible that just a few years ago the viola was still considered something of a solo novelty. Power's finest recording to date. ***** --Classic FM Magazine,Feb'12