Viola Concertos - Herbert Kefer

Herbert Kefer was born in Eisenerz, Austria, in 1960. At the age of five he received his first musical education on the violin. He continued his studies with Prof. Karl Frischenschlager in Leoben and with Prof. Karl Stierhof at the University of Music in Vienna. In 1986 he graduated with distinction.

In 1980 he founded, together with three colleagues, the Artis-Quartett. From 1984 to 1985 they spent one year in Cincinnati/Ohio with the LaSalle-Quartet to profit from their knowledge as much as possible. After that, an international career including concerts at all well known festivals began (‘Salzburger Festspiele’, ‘Schubertiade Feldkirch’, ‘Wiener Festwochen’, ‘Casals Festival’ to name a few). The quartet has made more than thirty recordings, some of which have been honoured with the Grand Prix du Disque and the Diapason d´Or.

In 1991 Herbert Kefer was appointed to head of Viola at the University of Music in Graz / Institution Oberschuetzen. From 2005-2010 he was director of the Weinklang-Festival. He is in demand as a soloist as well as a sought after partner for chamber music groups.

Herbert Kefer is playing a J.B. Guadagnini from 1784 out of the collection of the Austrian National Bank.

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Violist Austrian Herbert Kefer, founder of the prestigious Artis-Quartett, plays in this recording, a J.B. Guadagnini 1784. Both of them give us an idea of ​​the musical personality of a violist who has an enviable curriculum. Kefer wanted the centerpiece of this album to be Viola Pannonica written for viola and string orchestra by the composer Romanian Andreas Baksar, a work commissioned by the Weinklang Festival and premiered on 12 May 2010 at the Festival's Opening Concert.
Andreas Baksar (1950), who was a student of Béla was a source of inspiration both in Hungarian culture and the Croatian culture. His Viola Pannonica reflects the influence of Bartók with a dissonant language that conveys a deep respect for the popular melodies. This album is very unusual because they including works by Georg Philipp Telemann (seventeen), Carl Maria von Weber (of eighteen), Max Bruch (nineteen) and Andreas Baksar (twenty). The viola understood from different styles is what fascinates us. The most important thing is to listen to Kefer reveal the magic sound of the viola and makes us feel a contagious joy and exuberance. The Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1984 in memory of the former Radio Orchestra Vorarlberg, 1959; in Austria there is always a desire to create (and hear) senior orchestras. Note that the Symphony Orchestra Vorarlberg has become a model of life and cultural life of Vorarlberg certainly fulfills an important cultural task. The result of this superb album brings us music that exceeds the immediate freedom of the stylistic differences.

Performances to lift the spirits from violist Herbert Kefer and Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg on a new release from Nimbus of works for viola and orchestra by Telemann, Weber, Andreas Baksa and Bruch

Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg bring a nicely laid out opening to the Largo of Georg Philipp Telemann’s (1681-1767) Concerto in G minor for viola and string orchestra with the harpsichord continuo gently sounding through. When he joins, Herbert Kefer brings a quite beautiful tone with the orchestra and soloist dovetailing beautifully in the little rising motif, very finely shaped. They provide a lively, buoyant Allegro with some crisply phrased playing, Kefer handling all the twists and turns wonderfully, retaining a lovely rich tone before a beautifully turned Andante where soloist and orchestra demonstrate a great rapport, the soloist adding subtle expression. In the Presto Kefer brings viola playing of the highest order with both soloist and orchestra providing a terrific rhythmic lift. This fine violist negotiates the fast phrases with a terrific panache and still with that lovely tone. Kefer’s fine tone is to the fore in the beautifully shaped Andante of Carl Maria von Weber’s (1786-1826) Andante and Rondo Ungarese, Op.35 for viola and orchestra, the soloist adding lovely little rhythmic pointing, weaving some lovely passages with the orchestra. Here the viola really sings. The Rondo Ungarese is rhythmically sprung, full of good humour and Hungarian flavour. The soloist brings a playfulness to so many moments, finding some lovely timbres and maintaining a fine tone across the viola’s range.

Max Bruch’s (1838-1920) Romanze in F major, Op.85 for viola and orchestra makes a lovely conclusion to this disc with both orchestra and soloist bringing much beauty. Kefer provides an exquisite tone that adds so much to this finely paced performance that allow Bruch’s distinctive themes and harmonies to breathe. The music rises through some very fine passages where, as in all the works on this disc, Kefer lifts them and brings them alive. A real joy.

The recording is excellent with a real presence and there are useful booklet notes, mainly concerning Andreas Baksa, from the soloist. theclassicalreviewer

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