Roger Benedict – principal viola of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra – and pianist Simon Tedeschi present a new studio album re-imagining masterpieces by Schubert and Schumann.
It was common practice in the 19th century for composer to publish their music in versions for multiple instruments, increasing their audience and appeal. Taking inspiration from this, Benedict and Tedeschi present a range of works ideally suited to the rich tone of the viola – the 'melancholy dreamer', as Berlioz described it.
The album opens with Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata, written for a now-obsolete six-string instrument. The sunny virtuosity of the music (increased by playing it on an instrument of four rather than six strings) is tempered by Schubert’s trademark aching melancholy.
At the heart of the album sits a suite of movements from Schubert's Winterreise. In Benedict's own words, "this concert suite tells a condensed version of the song cycle’s story, expressing all the desperation, false hope and final resignation as its protagonist journeys away from his doomed love affair."
Two works by Robert Schumann, originally for violin and piano, close out the album: an ardent and wistful Intermezzo, and the characterful late Sonata Op.105.
In his 20s, Roger Benedict was appointed the principal viola of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, before leaving to devote more time to solo performance and teaching. He relocated to Australia in 2003, and is the principal viola of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Simon Tedeschi has been hailed as ‘true greatness’ (Sydney Morning Herald). He tours and performs globally at prestigious recital venues and with leading orchestras; for ABC Classics he has made acclaimed recordings of music by Gershwin, Mussorgsky, Richard Strauss and more.
The artwork for the album cover and booklet is by Loribelle Spirovski, a Sydney-based Archibald finalist.
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FRANZ SCHUBERT 1797–1818
1–3. Sonata in A minor, D821 'Arpeggione' for viola and piano
Eight Songs from 'Winterreise' Arranged for viola and piano by Roger Benedict 4. Gute Nacht (Good Night) 5. Erstarrung (Numbness) 6. Auf dem Flusse (On the Stream) 7. Irrlicht (Will-o’-the-Wisp) 8. Frühlingstraum (A Dream of Springtime) 9. Stürmischer Morgen (Stormy Morning) 10. Täuschung (Deception) 11. Der Wegweiser (The Signpost)
ROBERT SCHUMANN 1810–1856
12. Intermezzo [from the F.A.E. Sonata] for violin and piano, WoO22 Arranged for viola and piano by Roger Benedict
13–15. Sonata for piano and violin in A minor, Op. 105 Arranged for viola and piano by Roger Benedict