Peter Minkler / Lura Johnson

Inner Voice

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Inner Voice, a collection of works for viola and piano on the Centaur label, juxtaposes composers and compositions that might at first glance seem like little more than an assortment of 20th century viola repertoire. For violist Peter Minkler, however, the works of Britten, Rochberg, Pärt, and Shostakovich represent a distillation of what was at the core of their compositional language or what Minkler refers to as their Inner Voice. Regardless of the rationale, Minkler's resulting program is unique and highly enjoyable. Much of the music performed, including Britten's Lachrymae; the lush center movement of Rochberg's sonata; Pärt's still, breathtaking Spiegel im Spiegel (transcribed the composer); and the tragic conclusion of Shostakovich's sonata, is slow, hushed, and reverent. It is in these moments that Minkler's tender tone, rich sonorities, and careful application of color are at their best. In more forceful sections, balance sometimes becomes an issue with the piano obscuring Minkler's close attention to detail, pristine intonation, and apparent communion with the composers' intentions. Still, this album is filled with beautiful playing and exceptional musicianship. Minkler elevates the sometimes underestimated viola and leaves his listeners wanting more from this talented young artist.

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