Presenting “Gems Rediscovered.”
With pianist Nicholas Shaneyfelt.
Sonata for Viola and Piano in D Major, Op. 15 – Paul Juon (1872-1940)
Adagio assai e molto cantabile
Sonata for Viola and Piano in C Major, Op. 29 – Ernest Walker (1870-1949)
Andante, sempre largamente, quasi un poco adagio
Allegro ma non troppo
Romance in D-flat Major, Op. 2 – Benjamin Dale (1885-1943)
Sonata for Viola and Piano in D Minor, Op. 86 – Robert Fuchs (1847-1927)
Allegro moderato ma passionate
The burnished, golden sonorities of the viola – the “forgotten stepsister” to the violin – are all too seldom heard in chamber compositions. Viola virtuoso supreme Spencer Martin seeks to redress this injustice with “Forgotten Gems,” a collection of lovely and beautifully crafted works for viola and piano from four little-known composers of the late-romantic era … works that definitely deserve to be restored to the sadly limited repertoire of chamber music for the viola. Composers include Paul Juon, Ernest Walker, Benjamin Dale, and Robert Fuchs.
The program features lush and varied sonatas by fairly obscure composers, including Russian-born Paul Juon – who has been called the “Russian Brahms.” On that subject, the often “abrasive” and hard-to-please Brahms held the music of Austrian notable Robert Fuchs in very high regard. There’s also striking music from Englishman Ernest Walker – plus a touching Romance by Benjamin Dale, another British composer.
Spencer Martin currently serves as professor of music at Luther College, and has performed and taught throughout the U.S., Canada, Israel, and Europe. An active chamber and orchestral musician, he performs frequently in the Luther College Piano Quartet and plays Baroque violin and viola with the Lyra Baroque Orchestra. He has appeared as guest violist with the Harrington and Pro Arte String Quartets as well as the Amelia Piano Trio. His solo performances include Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 with the Lyra Baroque Orchestra and Berlioz’s Harold in Italy with the Luther College Symphony Orchestra in venues in Austria, including Vienna’s Konzerthaus. Spencer has served as principal violist in the Tuscaloosa Symphony, and also frequently performed in the viola sections of the Minnesota Orchestra, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Spencer’s solo, chamber, and orchestral performances have been featured in numerous radio broadcasts including National Public Radio, CBC, Minnesota Public Radio, and Kansas Public Radio.