Viola Sonatas of Max Reger
Barbara Westphal, viola
German violinist Barbara Westphal's Bridge disc features the rarely heard sonatas of Max Reger. The Opus 49 sonatas are given on this disc their premiere recording with viola. Normally heard in clarinet, these remarkable works simultaneously stand astride the 19th and 20th centuries with both romantic and progressive tendencies in abundance. Ms. Westphal's duo partner on this disc is the American pianist, Jeffrey Swann.
Barbara Westphal's remarkable artistry is also heard on Bridge 9021, Brahms Viola Sonatas, where she is accompanied by the American pianist Ursula Oppens. Writings of Ms. Westphal and her Bridge/Brahms disc, Leslie Gerber in Fanfare stated: "Now this is my kind of Brahms playing! Westphal digs into this music with great passion and depth of tone. Her fabulous Gasparo da Salo viola, made in 1570, sounds almost like a cello at times. These well recorded performances sweep the field for me as far as current recordings go, and they seem worthy of comparison to the legendary Primrose. In fact, if you like the deepest, throaty viola tone, Westphal is almost without comparison in my experience."
“The musicians play with good feel for Reger’s style. Westphal draws an impressive tone from her rare Gasparo de Salo viola ” - American Record Guide
“The more I hear Reger’s chamber music the more I love it. Certainly the three sonatas here could not be better presented than they are by these two artists, the recording team and those responsible for the attractive booklet” - The Strad