VOICES OF TIMEWorks for Solo Violin & Solo Viola
Johann Sebastian Bach, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Von Biber, Sergei Prokofiev, Stella Sung, Ruben Varga
MATITIAHU BRAUN, violin & viola
Camillus Camilli, Violin (1739)
Guy Rabut, Viola (1998)
"Braun has a firm, bright, highly focused tone and is clearly the complete technician. Throughout this entire programme there's little cause to fault his musicianship. [Although composers] Ruben Varga and Stella Sung...are hardly household names they are effectively represented here... Braun's grief-laden performance [of Voices of Time] wants for no better... Bach's cello suites emerge comfortably in these 'alto' viola versions. Braun tackles the two suites in beautifully considered style...performances of the well established."
Howard Smith, Music and Vision - October 2010
"...Braun’s crisp articulation and rhythmic verve demonstrate that there’s still a great deal to be uncovered by modern instrumentalists as well. Recorded in 2007 (when the violinist had only recently turned 60), the performance sounds immediate and vibrant... Bach’s First Cello Suite sounds romantic in Braun’s performance, personalized by rhythmic nuances... the Prelude builds to an imposing conclusion. Braun, in that movement and the following Allemande, makes rhetorical use of pauses, a practice he largely eschews in the quicker—and somewhat more abstract—Courante. The Sarabande allows him to draw upon the most profound of his musical instincts; he imparts to the Menuetts I and II a tantalizingly vital snap—as he does to the concluding Gigue. Braun’s tone on the viola sounds almost cello-like in its strength and resonance, so that those accustomed to listen to these works in the original cello version should find themselves in familiar timbral territory... [In Ruben Varga’s Prelude and Four Caprices], Braun turns in a performance that makes them seem as important in their musical content as Ysaÿe’s solo sonatas and as brilliant in their technical display as works by Paganini, Ernst, or Wieniawski... Stella Sung’s somber and haunting Voices of Time, a work of some nine and a half minutes, reflects, according to the notes, her feeling for the victims of Auschwitz. Ranging far beyond the tonal in its harmonic layout, it offers in this performance a sort of bleak meditation, and Braun captures its intensity and ferocity so effectively that the beginning of Bach’s Second Partita comes almost as a benediction... Matitiahu Braun’s recital offers two new works of considerable interest and creditable performances of some of the most important works in the standard repertoire of the violin and the viola. Recommended more strongly to those in search of convincing presentations of the new than to those seeking archetypal performances of the well established."
Robert Maxham, Fanfare Magazine - September/October 2010
"...he delivers fine performances, technically and musically. Braun is a smooth violinist and violist, with a lovely tone on both instruments."
Turok's Choice, Issue No.224 - September 2010
"Matitiahu Braun is a wonder. [He] gives veritable master classes in both violin and viola, in Voices of Time... Braun’s stylish, perfectly executed performances of the music of all these figures make for a memorable recital... Matitiahu Braun presents Unaccompanied Cello Suites 1 and 2 in their alternate versions for viola. The warmth of his tone and his sure handling of cadences and stops, serve the needs of these two suites to perfection... In Prelude and Four Caprices by Ruben Varga, Braun negotiates some formidable difficulties with deceptive ease. The most difficult are found in the final caprice, where strongly syncopated lines are offset by powerful cadences. And the artist tastefully builds and sustains the emotion in Sung’s memorial to the martyrs of Auschwitz, Voices of Time"
Phil Muse, Audio Society of Atlanta - March 2010
PROGRAM NOTESMatitiahu Braun began his study of the violin in 1946, at age six, in his native Jerusalem. He gave his first recital six months later, performing a Vivaldi concerto. He graduated from the Israel Academy of Music where he studied with Ödön Partos, a composer and performer who began as a violinist and became a violist. It was Partos’s remarkable deep tone on the viola that has ever since inspired Braun. Early in his own career, after his 1977 Town Hall recital playing on both instruments, a New York Times critic called Braun a “Master of Strings.”
Matitiahu Braun came to America in 1962 to study violin at the Juilliard School with Joseph Fuchs. He received his Artist and Post-graduate diplomas from the Juilliard and was the recipient of the prestigious Naumburg Prize. After stints with the Musica Aeterna Orchestra and Denver Symphony, he joined the New York Philharmonic, a position he held from 1969 until 2006. He also served as Principal and Solo Violist with the Dallas Symphony in the late 1970s. Mr. Braun’s busy career includes recitals, chamber music, and appearances with orchestras throughout the United States and in Finland, Japan, and Israel. Likewise, he has taught, coached, and conducted master classes in hopes of inspiring young talent throughout the world to follow his approach and understanding. Understanding for Matitiahu Braun comes from a never-ending exploration of each musical work’s spiritual, emotional, and intellectual meaning.
Currently a resident of Florida, Matitiahu Braun teaches at Rollins College in Winter Park and has private students in both violin and viola. Since settling in the Orlando area in 2006, he has presented faculty recitals at Rollins and at other venues, performing on both violin and viola. He recently appeared in New York City in recital and chamber music concerts at Weill Hall and Lincoln Center, in Iowa and Wisconsin, and at the Roycroft Chamber Music Festival in East Aurora and Buffalo, New York, and at the International Grieg Festival in early 2009. He appeared as soloist with the COSM Orchestra in New York City in May 2009 performing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.
Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Ruben Varga (1928-1984)
Johann Sebastian Bach
Stella Sung (b.1959)
Johann Sebastian Bach