Two well-known Sydney musicians have teamed up to create a new recording on ABC Classics that re-imagines the masterpieces of Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann. Principal viola of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Roger Benedict and pianist Simon Tedeschi have released their new album, A Winter’s Tale.
It was common practice in the 19th century for composer to publish their music in versions for multiple instruments, increasing their audience and appeal. Taking inspiration from this and arranged by Benedict for viola and piano, Benedict and Tedeschi present a range of works originally written for voice and various other instruments but which are ideally suited to the rich tone of the viola – the ‘melancholy dreamer’, as Berlioz described it.
The album opens with Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata, written for a now-obsolete six-string instrument. The sunny virtuosity of the music (increased by playing it on an instrument of four rather than six strings) is tempered by Schubert’s aching melancholy.
At the heart of the album sits a suite of movements from Schubert’s song cycle, Winterreise. Roger Benedict observes “this concert suite tells a condensed version of the song cycle’s story, expressing desperation, false hope and final resignation as its protagonist journeys away from his doomed love affair.”
Two works by Robert Schumann, originally for violin and piano, close out the album: an ardent and wistful Intermezzo, and the characterful late Sonata Op.105.
Roger Benedict was appointed the principal viola of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, in his 20s, before leaving to devote more time to solo performance and teaching. He relocated to Australia in 2003, becoming principal viola of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Simon Tedeschi is one of Australia’s most successful pianists. He tours and performs globally at prestigious recital venues and with leading orchestras. He has a substantial discography with ABC Classics recording music by Gershwin, Mussorgsky, Richard Strauss and others.
The artwork for the album cover and booklet is by Loribelle Spirovski, a Sydney-based Archibald finalist.
FRANZ SCHUBERT 1797–1818
1–3. Sonata in A minor, D821 ‘Arpeggione’ for viola and piano/ Eight Songs from ‘Winterreise’ Arranged for viola and piano by Roger Benedict 4. Gute Nacht (Good Night)/ 5. Erstarrung (Numbness)/ 6. Auf dem Flusse (On the Stream)/ 7. Irrlicht (Will-o’-the-Wisp)/ 8. Frühlingstraum (A Dream of Springtime)/ 9. Stürmischer Morgen (Stormy Morning)/ 10. Täuschung (Deception)/ 11. Der Wegweiser (The Signpost)
ROBERT SCHUMANN 1810–1856
12. Intermezzo [from the F.A.E. Sonata] for violin and piano, WoO22, Arranged for viola and piano by Roger Benedict/ 13–15. Sonata for piano and violin in A minor, Op. 105 Arranged for viola and piano by Roger Benedict
Roger Benedict viola
Simon Tedeschi piano
Available now as a single CD and a digital album. ABC 481 6751