“Walther presents a variety of textures... Walther and Korevaar gel wonderfully throughout. The illuminating album notes by Korevaar aid in interpreting moments that might not be as straightforward. The album also acts as a rallying cry for more spotlights on the viola, which shines here with honey-rich tones and Walther’s masterful attack of the challenging works... This album is a fitting choice for those wishing to explore both Hindemith and the instrument that he famously played.”
Cristina Schreil, Strings Magazine [April 2016]
“This is the second solo disc by Takacs Quartet violist Geraldine Walther that I have had heard (the first was her Brahms Viola Sonatas, also for MSR), and I am as impressed this time as I was before. Like the earlier recording, this one is distinguished by MSR’s rich sound. Walther’s fine, Turin-period Guadagnini viola produces a sumptuous tone that is a pleasure to hear. Tempos are sensible, Walther’s technique is absolutely secure, and her intonation is flawless.”
Magil, American Record Guide [March/April 2016]
“The playing in the 1939 Sonata is aggressive and hard driving [and suits] this music well, especially as they also envelop the music in warmth. [Walther and Korevaar] also toy charmingly with Hindemith’s puckish humor in the final variations. Walther and Korevaar are also in their element in Hindemith’s wildly (for its day) avant-garde op. 25/4 Sonata. Spikiness and (tongue-in-cheek?) humor rule the day. Yet they find extraordinary depths in the unexpectedly serious slow movement... The recorded sound is alive and clear. There are natural balances between the instruments...”
James North, Fanfare [March/April 2016]
“Walther is a brilliant, fiery advocate for these works.”
Rick Anderson, CD Hotlist for Libraries [January 2016]
“[ * * * * ] Geraldine Walther was the beloved Principal Violist with the San Francisco Symphony for twenty-nine years before becoming the Violist of the Takacs Quartet in 2005. She studied with the eminent violist Lillian Fuchs and Walther’s warm and soulful performances here owe a debt to her teacher. This is another disc that reinforces the significance of Paul Hindemith as one of the 20th century’s great composers..”
Robert Moon, Audiophile Audition [December 2015]
“Geraldine Walther and David Korevaar give fine accounts of three of the viola-and-piano sonatas on a new MSR Classics CD that...presents an excellent opportunity to hear just how skillfully he found ways to make the viola into an important instrument for chamber music... this is a very fine disc for people who do like Hindemith and, in particular, cherish his contribution to the viola literature.”
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [November 2015]
“[This CD is] immensely enjoyable and arguably essential for Hindemith's admirers, as well as for viola aficionados in general.... [As compared to a recent Blue Griffin Hindemith release] the MSR has some technical advantages: the variations in the second and third movements of Op.11 #4, are separately tracked, thus yielding a total of ten tracks for the entire sonata compared with three on the Blue Griffin disc. More importantly, the sound reproduction on the MSR disc is somewhat better, especially for the piano, which has a slightly glassy sound on the Blue Griffin CD... The violist and pianist on the MSR disc here are just as impressive in performance as their counterparts [in the Blue Griffin], too... Speaking of repertory, I must say that on the whole I prefer the works on the MSR CD… this new MSR Classics disc is certainly worth your attention if either Hindemith or viola music is in your area of interests. The sound reproduction, as suggested above, is excellent and the album notes on the music by David Korevaar are enlightening.”
Robert Cummings, ClassicalNet [6 November 2015]
“MSR Classic’s release of three viola/piano sonatas is a lasting tribute to the German composer that is substantially tendered by Geraldine Walther and David Korevaar… [In the opening Opus 25] Walther and Korevaar dissect the three movement sonata dynamics assiduously… Walther and Korevaar have a musical chemistry that balances without edging into excessive triviality. There is a trail of clarity and substance”
Christie Grimstad, ConcertoNet [October 2015]
“these pieces…have plenty to offer, and these vivacious, rich-toned performances by violist Geraldine Walther and pianist David Korevaar get right at what is most ingratiating about Hindemith’s writing — particularly the combination of technical challenge and rhetorical transparency. The three sonatas come from distinct stylistic periods in the composer’s life [and] Walther and Korevaar switch interpretive modes…easily, so that each work stands forth in the most flattering possible light.”
Joshua Kosman, SFGate [October 2015]
“You can gather by the smiles lighting up the faces of violist Geraldine Walther and pianist David Korevaar [on the cover] that they’ve contended with some of the most challenging works in the repertoire and come out on top.”
Phil Muse, Audio Society of Atlanta [August 2015]
PROGRAM NOTESPaul Hindemith’s three Sonatas for Viola and Piano - composed in 1919, 1922 and 1939 – highlight three important points in his stylistic development as a composer, from post-Romantic wunderkind through his moment as Germany’s musical enfant terrible, to his carefully crafted mature style. Spanning the period between the two World Wars, these three sonatas showcase the viola, Hindemith’s own main performance instrument during this time, as well as the piano, with colorful and virtuosic writing for both. While Hindemith’s project, begun in the late 1930s, of writing sonatas for each of the orchestral instruments is well known, his earlier work with sonatas for string instruments and piano shows him thoroughly engaged in the duo-sonata medium throughout his career.
Geraldine Walther, violist of the Takács String Quartet since 2005, plays 80 concerts worldwide annually. Born in Florida, Walther first picked up the viola in a public school music program in Tampa. She went on to study at the Manhattan School with Lillian Fuchs and at the Curtis Institute with Michael Tree of the Guarneri Quartet. In 1979, she won first prize at the William Primrose International Competition. She was the Principal Violist of the San Francisco Symphony for 29 years, having previously served as assistant principal of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony and Miami Philharmonic. With the San Francisco Symphony, Walther performed concertos by Mozart, Telemann, Berlioz, Hindemith, Martinu, Walton, Henze, Bartók, Schnittke, Penderecki, William Schuman, and others. She also premiered important works with the Orchestra by composers including Takemitsu, Lieberson and Benjamin.
In 1995, Walther was selected by Sir Georg Solti for his Musicians of the World to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. In 2011, she was awarded the Order of Merit Officer’s Cross of the Republic of Hungary. As a member of the Takács Quartet, she was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Award in the Chamber Music and Song category. In 2012, the Quartet was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame and is currently Associate Artists of the Wigmore Hall in London. Walther has participated in numerous chamber music festivals, including Marlboro, Santa Fe, Tanglewood, Bridgehampton, Cape Cod, Amelia Island, Telluride, Seattle and Green Music Festivals, and Music@ Menlo. She has collaborated with such artists as Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman and Jaime Laredo, and has appeared as a guest artist with the Tokyo, Vermeer, Guarneri, Lindsay, Cypress and St. Lawrence string quartets.
In addition to her recordings for Hyperion with the Takács Quartet, Walther’s recordings include Hindemith’s Trauermusik and Der Schwanendreher with the San Francisco Symphony (London/Decca), Paul Chihara’s Golden Slumbers with the San Francisco Chamber Singers (Albany), Lou Harrison’s Threnody (New Albion), Delectable Pieces as a member of the Volkert Trio (Con Brio), and Brahms Sonatas and True Divided Light: Chamber Music by David Carlson (MSR Classics). Geraldine is an Artist-in-Residence at the University of Colorado Boulder and a Christoffersen Faculty Fellow.
David Korevaar performs an extensive repertoire as a soloist and chamber musician, and has been a guest artist with internationally acclaimed orchestras and ensembles. Korevaar is the Peter and Helen Weil Professor of Piano at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a member of the Clavier Trio, currently Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Texas in Dallas. He is a regular participant as performer and teacher at Colorado’s Music in the Mountains summer festival and the Music Center Japan.
Korevaar earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Juilliard School, studying piano with the Earl Wild and composition with David Diamond. Later, working with Abbey Simon, Korevaar received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Juilliard and was honored with the Richard French award for his doctoral document on Ravel’s Miroirs. Other honors include top prizes from the University of Maryland William Kapell International Piano Competition (1988) and the Peabody-Mason Music Foundation (1985), as well as a special prize for his performance of French music from the Robert Casadesus Competition (1989). He continues to explore French music, both as a performer and as a scholar, with recordings and publications devoted to the music of Ravel and Fauré and work on the music collection of Ricardo Viñes, the first performer of many important works by Debussy and Ravel.
Highly active as a recording artist, Korevaar’s recent recording of J.S. Bach’s Partitas (MSR Classics) showcases his exquisite musical sensitivity and fine technique, and marks his 26th recording and his fourth dedicated to the music of Bach. His other recordings have explored a wide range of solo and chamber music, from Beethoven and Brahms to Dohnányi and Lowell Liebermann. A web-based exploration of fugues from J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier by Korevaar and Tim Smith received top honors from MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) both in music and overall, including the Editors’ Choice Award. Korevaar and Smith have recently collaborated on an exploration of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
PROGRAMPAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963)
SONATA FOR VIOLA AND PIANO (1939)
I. Breit. Mit Kraft
II. Sehr lebhaft
III. Phantasie: Sehr langsam, frei
IV. Finale (mit zwei Variationen)
SONATA FOR VIOLA AND PIANO, OP.25, NO.4 (1922)
I. Sehr lebhaft. Markiert und kraftvoll
II. Sehr langsam Viertel
III. Finale. Lebhafte Viertel
SONATA FOR VIOLA AND PIANO, OP.11, NO.4 (1919)
I. Fantasie. Ruhig
II. Thema mit Variationen
Var. I – Dasselbe Zeitmaß
Var. II – ein wenig kapriziös
Var. III – Lebhafter und sehr fließend
Var. IV – noch lebhafter
III. Finale (mit Variationen)
Finale – Sehr lebhaft – Breit – Leicht fließend
Var. V – Ruhig fließend / Sehr lebhaft (Alla breve)
Var. VI - Fugato, mit bizarrer Plumpheit vorzutragen / Im Hauptzeitmaß
Var. VII – Coda / Wild – Noch mehr treiben – Breiter