- Morceau de concert for viola & piano
- Thème varié for viola & piano
- Appassionato for viola & piano in C sharp minor, Op. 34
A recording of mostly French viola music from the turn of the 20th century doesn't sound like the kind of thing that would have you camping out at Fnac. But if you don't, you'll be making a big mistake. A few big names -- Debussy, Ravel, Chausson -- are represented here, and they bring lovely moments from violist Lawrence Power, most especially in the rarely heard and very early "Beau soir" of Debussy. George Enescu's well-made "Concertstück" (1906), a masterpiece of controlled virtuosity, is also a cornerstone of the small viola-and-piano repertory. But the real value here lies in the works by lesser-known composers, several of which are recorded for the first time. For the most part they come from the world of the Paris Conservatoire, a whipping boy even for Debussy's followers, but he doubtless would have known some of these works. Consider the elegant "Thème varié" of the almost completely obscure Georges Hüe, a conductor at the premiere of "The Rite of Spring" in 1913. His variations have an almost Mozart-ian sparkle, and there isn't a work on the program that's anything less than satisfyingly put together. Sample the second of two pieces by Louis Vierne, not a name often encountered outside the world of the organ: "Légende," with its piano part hovering at the top of the keyboard as if it were a high organ register, accomplishes the remarkable feat of transferring an organ-like texture to viola and piano. After a program that is mostly breezy and lyrical, Power effectively brings things down to earth at the end with the Enescu and the "Kaddisch" from the "Deux mélodies hébraïques" of Ravel as the finale. Power catches what's best in these pieces, which could easily be imagined in versions as dull as dust. The Wyastone Concert Hall sound is superb. A real sleeper of a release from Hyperion.