The Voice of the Viola in Times of Oppression
Zefir ZEF9657

18 Feb 2017 Middelburg, Zeeuwse Concertzaal
Ásdís Valdimarsdóttir (Viola)
Marcel Worms (Klavier)
A second cd with the same theme will be recorded in March 2018
7 septembre 2018



Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996) : Sonate für Viola & Klavier op. 28 (1945)

  1. Allegro 5:44
  2. Allegretto 7:06
  3. Adagio 6:55

Dick Kattenburg (1919-1944) : Sonate für Viola & Klavier (1944)

  1. Allegro moderato 9:31 (

5. Max Vredenburg (1904-1976) : Lamento (1953) 6:34

Dmitri Schostakowitsch (1906-1975) : Sonate für Viola & Klavier op. 147 (1975)

  1. Moderato 8:41
  2. Allegretto 7:54
  3. Adagio 12:09

The viola is surely not the most assertive instrument among the string family. It reaches neither the extreme height of the violin nor the rumbling depth and the strength of the cello and contrabass.
Its role is more integrating than leading or polarizing; and in brilliance, maneuverability and sound projection the violin wins hands down. But if a composer wants to express his feelings with maximum intensity and depth, he chooses the viola remarkably often.
The loss of a loved one, a repressive political system, persecution and war were more than once the motivation for the composing of music with the viola as the most important voice for expressing the underlying emotions.
The dark, somewhat veiled sound of the instrument makes it particularly suited to such a role.
The Polish-Russian Jewish composer Mieczysław Weinberg fled during the Nazi invasion.
Dick Kattenburg was picked up in 1944 during a razzia and he died, only 24 years old, in Auschwitz.
Max Vredenburg, being a Jewish artist, fled from the Nazis in 1941 to Indonesia but was there interned in a Japanese camp (Tjimahi on West Java).
Dmitri Shostakovich’s Sonata for viola and piano was his last composition. Notwithstanding that the pressures of the Soviet regime on the composer did not lead to his banishment or even his liquidation, the last stages of Shostakovich’s life were far from uncomplicated.
In all of these works, we see the viola utilized as the outlet of their suffering.