The following is a brief article I wrote on a CD recorded by Hilary Field and Gwen Franz that was published in my local guitar society's newsletter. It's good to have another CD of viola and guitar music and I'm posting the brief article here for anyone who's interested.
A publication of the Seattle Classic Guitar Society
Volume 54, 3 May/June 2013
Seattle Musicians Release New CD of Music for Viola and Guitar
By Jeremiah Lawson
Albums of music for viola and guitar are rare, making the handful of albums in print precious. To this number YellowTail Records has added Airoso, an album by Seattle musicians Hilary Field (guitar) and Gwen Franz (violin and viola). Airoso (YTC10107 © 2013, www.yellowtailrecords.com) is a worthy West Coast addition to a discography that, so far, has had most of its contributions from East Coast
ensembles such as Duo Fresco and the Alturas Duo.
The first third can be described as a set of dance-inspired works written by composers from Argentina, Brazil and Chile. The middle third are arrangements of works by German Baroque composers Telemann and Bach. The final third features an original composition by French composer Erik Marchelie.
Airoso opens with Astor Piazzolla’s “Libertango” and proceeds to Celso Machado’s “Musiques Populaires Bresiliennes”. “Pacoca” is a somber ballad while “Pe de moleque” is a spritely dance with phrases that close on unresolved major seventh chords that give the song a pervasively jazzy tone. Next is Hilary Field’s world-premiere recording of Jorge Morel’s charming “Homage to a Dance”. The fifth track is a duet com-posed by Alberto Cumplido, “Sahara”, a contemplative, mournful ballad featuring subtle timbrel shifts between fretted and unfretted notes on the guitar.
The middle third features Jose de Azpiazu’s arrangement of Sonata in A minor by Telemann. This arrangement from what was originally a trio sonata is compelling and effective. This arrangement is followed by a viola arrangement of the Prelude from Bach’s Cello Suite in D minor.
The final third features a Sonate by Erik Marchelie, a contemporary French guitarist and composer. The work opens with an alternately ethereal and earthy Andante, a marching piece that evokes sonata form without insisting upon it. The second movement is a broad, sentimental ballad with expansively modulating sequence that leads without a break into a lively dance movement. The fourth and final
movement, Moderato violente, takes up the styles and forms of the earlier movements and synthesizes them into a closing tango-march-passacaglia that sums up the moods of the sonata’s earlier movements and imbues them with a pervasive sense of melancholy.