Prokofiev and Shostakovich Music for Viola and Piano
This CD of Russian music brings together Prokofiev’s extraordinary musical depiction of young romantic love with Shostakovich’s deeply touching musical farewell, written during his final illness. The character of the viola provides a compelling voice for both. Who would have thought that Prokofiev’s huge orchestral score could find such convincing expression in a version for viola and piano? What is lost in orchestral colour is gained through the personal voice of warmth that the viola brings to this much loved music. The piano writing is also superb, and must surely have been influenced by Prokofiev’s own version for solo piano, made in 1937.
Robin Ireland is well known as the violist of the Lindsay String Quartet, with whom he played for more than twenty years. He now plays with the Primrose Piano Quartet, the Anton Stadler trio and as a Duo with pianist Tim Horton.
"There have already been several recordings of Vadim Borisovsky’s tremendously effective arrangement for viola and piano of music from Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet. Robin Ireland includes the complete first set of six pieces (there are several collections totalling 13 movements). Ireland takes the whirlwind ‘Young Juliet’ and ‘Mercutio’ at a less neck-breaking pace than Hellen Callus (ASV) or Lawrence Power (Harmonia Mundi); he is at his lyrical best in the ‘Balcony Scene’, and unleashes great reserves of sound in the menacing ‘Dance of the Knights’. Ireland mostly adheres to Borisovsky’s original fingerings, which are an essential part of his style and show off the viola’s timbral spectrum in the most favourable light.