Antoine Tamestit (viola), Cédric Tiberghien (piano) – Bel Canto: The Voice of Viola review
Bel Canto, the voice of viola
Antoine Tamestit; Cédric Tiberghien; Henri Vieuxtemps; Gaetano Donizetti; Jacques-Fereol Mazas; Vincenzo Bellini; Casimir-Ney
The album title might suggest something Italian, but the big piece here is the Sonata in B flat by the Belgian composer and violinist Henri Vieuxtemps. The stylishly adaptable Antoine Tamestit presents it as a highly effective, mid-19th-century showcase of the viola’s agility and expressive range. Vieuxtemps’s Élégie packs an even greater punch, and his Capriccio for solo viola is one of three pieces (the others are by Mazas and Casimir Ney) chosen to illustrate the effect of Paganini’s Caprices on the world of the viola. The bel canto of the title is exemplified in transcriptions of arias by Donizetti and Bellini chosen to highlight the viola’s singing capabilities, though, for me, some of the other pieces do that rather better.