The second in the series of refurbished recordings made by the great violist, William Primrose, covering the period 1934 and 1952. I reviewed the first volume last month and I refer you to that for some words on the career of the Scottish-born virtuoso. The music on this disc is of a more substantial nature, and includes four of Paganini’s Violin Caprices in Primrose’s arrangements for viola and recorded in the 1930’s. The stunning performances, more than anything else, were to win the critical acclaim that took him to the top of the viola tree. The disc is made the more important by the inclusion of two substantial works written for him. The first comes from Arthur Benjamin who responded to a request for something more than the Jamaican Rumba often played by Primrose. The result was a most likeable three movement Viola Sonata with piano accompaniment, the final Toccata a real test of dexterity. The other came from Roy Harris with a Soliloquay and Dance, two six minute pieces typical of the composer. Among the other major tracks he combines with the famous contralto, Marian Anderson, in the viola obbligato for the Two Songs by Brahms… Very good transfers.
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