Patricia Pollett: viola
Stephen Emmerson: piano
Daryl Pratt: percussion
Philipa Robinson: clarinet
Colin Spiers: piano
This is the third solo viola CD released by Tall Poppies, bringing to three the number of solo viola CDs ever released in Australia. Patricia Pollett is widely regarded as one of Australia's most talented musicians, and the violist who has done the most to encourage composers to write for the instrument. Almost all the works presented in Still Life were written especially for Patricia, who brings a palpable expressive emotion to her work.
The CD is titled after Elena Kats-Chernin's six-part Still Life, an intimate series of studies for viola and piano in which Pollett is accompanied by Brisbane pianist Stephen Emmerson. In Davidson's Lento, she is partnered by Newcastle pianist Colin Spiers who used to be her colleague in the ensemble, Perihelion. He also accompanies her in three mood pieces From a Quiet Place by Brisbane composer Betty Beath. The CD also includes a spirited miniature, The Room of the Saints, by Gerard Brophy in which Daryl Pratt, playing darabuka, gives an exotic rhythmic feel. The remaining works are unaccompanied: Peter Sculthorpe's Threnody, originally written for cello, works brilliantly for viola; Andrew Ford's Swansong gives the viola an strenuous workout, calling for every ounce of Pollett's virtuosity; Stephen Cronin's Flux is a showcase of the harmonic notes possible on the instrument. Nigel Sabin, once Perihelion's clarinettist, has contributed two travel commentaries for viola and clarinet, gently rollicking works in which Pollett is partnered by Philippa Robinson, the current clarinettist with Perihelion.
Elena Kats-Chernin: Still Life I-VI
Peter Sculthorpe: Threnody
Robert Davidson: Lento
Andrew Ford: Swansong
Nigel Sabin: Postcards from France
Stephen Cronin: Flux
Gerard Brophy: The Room of the Saints
Paul Stanhope: Dawn Lament
Betty Beath: From a Quiet Place