Classical home listening: from Tabea Zimmermann to Walter Kaufmann


• If you’ve queried the purpose of listening to a Bach cello suite performed on the viola, Tabea Zimmermann’s Solo II (Myrios Classics; launched 16 October) renders the query pointless. Her new album comes a decade after Solo, wherein she recorded the primary two suites. Now she tackles, with supreme class, No 3 in C and No 4 in E flat, her efficiency buoyant, lithe, with a versatile consideration to decoration and phrasing. Using a classical bow, mild and swift for clear articulation, she however performs a contemporary viola, her 1980 instrument made by the celebrated French luthier Étienne Vatelot. Its wealthy, even sound is given most bloom on this spacious recording.

The Bach is paired with Signs, Games and Messages for solo viola by György Kurtág (b1926): six actions, rhythmically free and dramatic, gathered collectively by Zimmermann. She is the dedicatee of … eine Blume für Tabea…, a shard of Kurtág enchantment.

Walter Kaufmann.
Walter Kaufmann. Photograph: Chandos

• The Czech-Jewish composer Walter Kaufmann (1907-84) left a long-lasting impression on his adopted nation, India, to which he fled in 1934: he wrote the signature tune for All India Radio, identified to thousands and thousands. Later he moved to Canada and America, the place he grew to become an admired conductor, pianist and trainer. During his time in Mumbai, Kaufmann explored Indian (in addition to Chinese and Tibetan) musical traditions, a few of which he included into his personal works. His appreciable output of chamber music, six symphonies, a number of concertos and two dozen operas, largely with out opus numbers, is simply now being catalogued.

All the Chamber Works by Walter Kaufmann (Chandos), carried out by the ARC Ensemble, a part of its Music in Exile sequence, are world premiere recordings of items composed throughout his time in India. Their strongly Czech accent, tuneful and melancholic, dominates, with sudden darts into raga temper. Kaufmann’s music, nuanced and sudden, deserves to be heard.

• Catch up with extra crossing of continents: the sitarist/composer Anoushka Shankar and conductor/arranger Jules Buckley joined forces with digital music producer Gold Panda, percussionist Manu Delago and the strings of Britten Sinfonia for a mesmerising Prom (iPlayer/BBC Sounds).



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