Lawrence Power (viola), Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano)
Lawrence Power makes the second of his appearances in this month’s release lists, this time with his regular pianist partner Simon Crawford-Phillips in the chamber music of Shostakovich. The centrepiece is the Viola Sonata, Shostakovich’s last completed work, premiered posthumously, on what would have been the composer’s sixty-ninth birthday. Its ravishing slow finale reworks the opening of Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ Sonata—a tribute to a composer he revered.
Shostakovich the film composer also takes a bow, in the form of The Gadfly, with its famous ‘Romance’ beloved of violinists everywhere. That this works just as compellingly on the viola is triumphantly displayed in the arrangement made by Vadim Borisovsky (founding violist of the Beethoven Quartet), one of the Five Pieces he recast from Shostakovich’s original.
Shostakovich’s 24 Piano Preludes have also proved irresistible to transcribers and here we have the seven brilliantly reworked by a pupil of Borisovsky, Yevgeny Strakhov.