The Viola List
SCOTT AND TANYA ARE BACK!
I have just received the most recent CD of Scott Slapin and Tanya Solomon, violists, and am most happy to report that it is an exceptional and delightful offering of viola solo and duo music. It is titled: RECITAL ON THE ROAD/ WHAT WE DID ON OUR SUMMER EVACUATION. Scott's program notes speak of the genesis of this recording, done after their evacuation from their home in New Orleans and the Katrina disaster in the many months after they lost virtually everything they owned and picked up the pieces of their personal and musical lives.
As terrible as this experience must have been for Scott and Tanya, the results of this recording surely don't reflect any diminution of their outstanding talents. Those who know their previous CDs should expect the same high quality of viola playing and musicality and they will not be disappointed.
This potpourri of viola music includes:
Paul Hindemith's Sonata op. 25, no. 1 for solo viola
Antonio Barolomeo Bruni's Sonata No. 1 for 2 Violas
Niccolo Paganini's Caprice No. 3, arr. for viola
Joh. Seb. Bach's Allemande from the Suite No. 6
Alessandro Rolla's Duet in E flat for 2 Violas
Both Scott and Tanya sound wonderful here, their instruments very resonant and full. The technique is there in plenty for the more demanding music (Hindemith and Paganini), and the Bruni and Rolla duos are just wonderful. Rolla, who violists will know for his sound contributions to the viola repertory (concerti, solo works for viola and orchestra, many duos for violin and viola, mixed ensemble pieces with prominent viola parts, etc.) , wrote many duos for 2 violas. While some these Rolla viola duos border on the simplistic, this Duo in E flat is a substantial work, musically very rewarding and technically quite demanding.
Violists wishing to have a good piece for themselves, their students and for their viola duo libraries can obtain this Rolla duo from Fountain Park Music. See their web site.
This CD is EROICA CLASSICAL RECORDINGS JDT3265. You can go to the Eroica web site or Scott's and get more specific information about this CD.
Scott Slapin Scott Slapin was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1974 into a family of musicians. He began writing music at the age of eleven, and his first orchestral premiere, at age fourteen, was a critical success in the New Jersey State Theater. He studied the viola at the Manhattan School of Music and earned his Bachelor of Music degree by the age of eighteen, making him one of the youngest graduates in the school's history.
Scott began his professional career as the on-stage solo violist in the New York City production of Orpheus in Love (1992-93), a chamber opera by Gerald Busby and Craig Lucas. He has premiered other works by Busby including his Muse for Solo Viola in Carnegie's Weill Hall (1994), and he has inspired other outstanding American composers including Richard Lane, David Noon and Frank Proto to write him solo works as well. In the late 1990's, Scott gave the premiere performances of Richard Lane's Third Viola Sonata and Richard Lane's Nocturne for Solo Viola, and he has recently recorded a new unaccompanied work by Cincinnati composer Frank Proto to be released at a date TBA on the Red Mark label. Scott was the first violist in history to have recorded the complete cycle of J.S. Bach's Sonatas and Partitas on the viola (available through Eroica Classical Recordings), a cd-set which has been widely featured in print and on radio.
Scott and his wife, violist Tanya Solomon, often perform together as a duo, and they can be heard playing Leclair's Sonata for Two Violas on an Eroica Classical Recordings compact disc entitled Sonatas by Lane, Leclair and Handel (JDT3134). Scott and Tanya have toured extensively throughout the United States and South America as members of the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra and the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), and they are former principal violists of the Knoxville and Chattanooga symphonies.
Myron Rosenblum, founder and first president of the American Viola Society wrote, "Scott Slapin is a musician of great talent and abilities - a violist of technical accomplishments and superior musicality. He is a violist to watch."
Virtuoso double bassist Gary Karr wrote of Scott's playing and composing, "He has a beautiful sound with a compelling musical intensity, and he plays with a passion that demands one's attention. I especially liked his own pieces which, like his playing, are rich in emotional energy.... a very impressive display of artistry and musicality."
Visit his website at www.scottslapin.com
An Interview with Scott Slapin
Eroica: How did you begin creating music?
Scott: I began playing at the age of six. My mother made me(!) My parents (and many other relatives) are musicians.
I began to compose on my own around the age of eleven or so. For me it was maybe around the age of fourteen that I didn't need to be forced to practice the viola anymore. Ever since then I haven't been able to stop.
E: What musician or musicians have inspired you the most?
S: In person and on record: Emanuel Vardi and Gary Karr. On record: Jascha Heifetz, Nathan Milstein, David Oistrakh and William Primrose. This is the abridged list, of course.
E: How about other artists or authors?
S: The list would really be too long. . . perhaps I should mention Philip Roth's novels and Don Byron playing Klezmer music.
E: What do you want your music to communicate?
S: This of course depends upon the piece....In general, though, there is always a certain mood/emotion I am trying to impart to the listener. This could be anything ranging from the very profound and spiritual (The Bach Sonatas and Partitas for example) to the dramatic and emotional (Bloch's Prayer), to the absolutely silly and ridiculous (Ernst's Last Rose Variations on viola--or my own The Hassid and The Hayseed which combines Americana and Jewish folk music.)
Regarding the Ernst Variations on the Last Rose which is one of the most difficult pieces ever written for the violin, a couple people have said to me, "You know, that piece isn't really suited to the viola."
I then respond, "That's the whole point!"
Actually, it's not really suited to the violin either, but it's definitely not suited to the viola. What's fun about it is that it is a bunch of circus-like stunts on a simple tune which should shock and astound the audience and make them laugh a bit. (I feel that way about some of the Paganini Caprices on the viola as well.) I think some don't 'get it' because they expect everything only to be serious.
Classical music can (and should) convey the same range of emotions that are present in any other genre of music--and that are present in life (including even having a sense of humor at times).
Feel free to visit my website at: www.scottslapin.com and read all about it!
Born in Geneva, Switzerland, violist Tanya Solomon has performed throughout the Americas and Europe as a solo, chamber and orchestral musician. Tanya has played regularly in the Spoleto Festivals of Italy (Festival dei Due Mondi) and Charleston, South Carolina, and she has been a member of the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas and the Chicago Civic Orchestra under Sir Georg Solti, Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez.
Tanya holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (BM) and Northwestern University (MM), and she has taught at the University of Tennessee (Chattanooga). Her teachers include Michael Tseitlin, Jeffrey Irvine and Peter Slowik, and she plays on a viola from the House of Weaver in Maryland.
Composer Piece Samples
Paul Hindemith Sonata Op. 25 No. 1 for Solo Viola (1922)
1. Breit Viertel
2. Sehr frisch und straff
3. Sehr langsam
4. Rasendes Zeitmass. Wild. Tonschonheit ist Nebensache
5. Langsam, mit viel Ausdruck
Antonio Bartolomeo Bruni Sonata No. 1 for Two Violas
6. Allegro moderato
7. Allergretto moderato-Mineur-Variazione
Nicolo Paganini 8. Caprice No. 3 (originally for violin, from the set of 24)
Johann Sebastian Bach 9. Allemande (originally for 5-string cello, from the 6th Suite)
Alessandro Rolla Duet in E Flat Major for Two Violas
10. Andante moderato
11. Thema con Variazioni
Check out the artist's website:
1. Paul Hindemith: Sonata Op. 24 No. 1, Breit Vietel
2. Sehr frisch und straff
3. Sehr Langsam
4. Resendes Zeitmass, Wild
5. Langsam, mit viel Ausdruck
6. Antonio Bartelomeo Bruni: Sonata No. 1 for Two Violas, Allegro m
7. Allegretto moderato - Minuet Variazione
8. Nicolo Paganini: Caprice No. 3, originally for violin
9. Johann Sebastian Bach: Allemande (originally for 5 string cello
10. Alessandro Rolla: Duet in E Flat Major for Two Viloas, Andante m
11. Thema con variazione
12. Rondo Presto