Les voix de l’alto (or The voices of the viola) is the name of my first solo CD, which is the result of the researches and studies I led during my Artist Diploma in the Paris conservatory.
The CD is an exploration about the relationship between the viola and the voice. I attempted with it to answer the questions “what makes the viola such a close instrument to the human voice?”, and “How to tell a story only with music?”
The aspects of this relationship in the repertoire can be seen from three perspectives. There are works juxtaposing viola and voice, sometimes along with an other instrument. The comparison between them is then easy, the sounds answer each other and merge, or support each other. One of the most sublime examples are Brahms’ two lieder opus 91 for viola, alt and piano.
Other works from the viola repertoire quote vocal works or refer to the voice, either directly (Britten’s Lachrymae opus 50 uses the theme of two 15th century songs from Dowland) or in a more subtle way (Schumann’s Märchenbilder are instrumental tales, using the codes of orality adapted into pure music pieces).
Finally, the adaptation and transcription of vocal works (as the one I did with Schubert’s Winterreise for example) is a great way to question and challenge the preconcieved differences between viola and voice.
After two years of exploration and experimentation, I conceived a program designed to enjoy and experience what makes the relationship viola-voice something special.
Gyorgy Kurtag: excerpts from “Signs, games and messages” for viola solo.
Franz Schubert: 4 songs from the “Winterreise”, transcription for viola, reciter and piano
Paul Hindemith: Sonata for viola and piano opus 11 n°4.
Johannes Brahms: Two Lieder Opus 91 for viola, Alt and piano.
Bernd Aloïs Zimmermann: sonata for solo viola “an den Gesang eines Engels”.
Franck Bridge: Three songs for Mezzo, viola and piano.
The CD is avalaible on online streaming on the website of the Paris Conservatory.