Joseph Jongen and Charles Koechlin are two names that are not at the top of anyone's list of the most recognised composers of the 20th century but 'Volupté', a new Melba recording of music for viola and piano brings their distinctive musical voices to the fore in outstanding performances by Roger Benedict and Timothy Young, with guest horn player Ben Jacks. All these sublimely lush and accessible pieces by the Belgian and French pair are world premiere recordings.
Koechlin's mighty Viola Sonata bleeds with the tragedy of war-time horror. It is unexpectedly gripping for a work for the seemingly polite ensemble of viola and piano - a truly remarkable emotional journey. The wistful beauty of his Quatre Petites Pièces for horn, viola and piano, show that the playful mood of pieces written in his youth can coexist with the painful yearning for a lost time. The viola music of Jongen has an unashamed focus on the melodic line with episodes of rapture and exquisite beauty, often interspersed with passages of great bravura display and virtuosity.
The violist Roger Benedict enjoys a career as one of the finest musicians of his generation working as soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player, teacher and conductor. Roger first joined the London Philharmonic and then became Principal Viola of the Philharmonia Orchestra at 29. In 2002 he moved to Australia to become Principal Viola with Sydney Symphony Orchestra, returning every year as guest principal viola with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. His chamber partners have included Sir Simon Rattle, Lorin Maazel, Leif Ove Andsnes, Julian Lloyd Webber and Osian Ellis. Timothy Young enjoys a reputation as one of Australia's leading pianists. In a wide-ranging repertory he performs regularly in recital as soloist and in partnership with leading Australian and international musicians and ensembles.
Personnel: Roger Benedict (viola), Timothy Young(piano), Ben Jacks (horn)