The Russian composer Grigori Frid (1915–2012), whose long life encompassed the entire existence of the Soviet Union, is best known for his 1969 chamber opera The Diary of Anne Frank. His sizable output, which has yet to be properly explored, includes three major works for viola and piano, their dignified restraint and emotional honesty taking the late works of Shostakovich as their stylistic starting point. They are followed by In Memoriam Grigori Frid, a touching tribute by Alexander Vustin (b. 1943) to his former teacher.
Elena Artamonova, viola Christopher Guild, piano
Six Pieces for Viola and Piano, Op. 68: https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0330/05.mp3
Sonata for Viola and Piano No. 1, Op. 62: https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0330/11.mp3
ALEXANDER VUSTIN: In Memoriam Grigori Frid for viola and piano: https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0330/14.mp3
Catalogue No: TOCC0330EAN/UPC: 5060113443304Release Date: 01.01.2016Composer: Grigori Frid Artists: Christopher Guild, Elena Artamonova
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Jonathan Woolf :
“Frid admired the instrument for its qualities of ‘reflection and contemplation’ as he related to the violist in this disc, Elena Artamonova, who gave the British premiere of the Viola Sonata No.1 in 2011. … The Sonata No.2 followed in 1985. … There is appropriately sombre tolling embedded in the work, and a heavily oppressive atmosphere, though Frid also embraces polystylism, introducing a stylised Baroque dance into the second movement… Some elements here suggest Shostakovich’s influence but this stoically aloof piece need not be seen as part of that lineage; it stands on its own feet. The Six Pieces (1975) are little character sketches, strong on sul ponticello, off-kilter dancing, interrupted dialogues, some tart dissonance and a highly developed sense of introversion, perfectly exemplified by the concluding Lento. … The disc is rounded out with his pupil Alexander Vustin’s In Memoriam Grigori Frid, composed in 2014. In two movements it builds strongly, through a quietly complex structure, to produce a work of weighted gravity whose lyricism formulates into a kind of sombre refraction. It’s a fine salute from student to teacher. Both Artamonova and Christopher Guild have recorded before for Toccata. … Together they make a fine team… The recording is well-balanced and the notes – by the violist – are full of important biographical and musical information.” –Music Web International, March 2016
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