UNLIKE Jewish composers who perished in World War II concentration camps of the Third Reich, Hans Gál and Ernst Krenek saw the looming danger and fled “to the wilderness” of exile, Krenek to California, Gál to Scotland where he was to co-found the Edinburgh international arts festival.
Krenek`s sonatas on this CD could hardly be deemed politically offensive. Expressive possibilities of his Sonata for viola and piano opus 117 are well realised, three contrasting movements culminating in a dialogue-style andantino that Timothy Young (piano) and Roger Benedict (viola) develop with precision and clarity.
Drawing out his viola`s warm, mellow tones with intelligent direction, Benedict brings an authoritative voice to Krenek`s plaintive Sonata for solo viola opus 92, sustaining the monologue`s drive through four intense movements.
Gál is more optimistic in the lyrical lines of his Impromptu for viola and piano, Sonata for viola and piano opus 101 and Suite for viola and piano opus 102a, all worthily recorded here for the first time.