Maurice Smith
Readings Monthly (Australia)

Once again Melba Recordings has come up with the unknown and interesting. This time the viola takes centre stage with music from the early twentieth century and music that seems oddly nostalgic—as if seeking something not remembered. It is surprising that these works by Frenchman Charles Kœchlin and Belgian Joseph Jongen are not better known. The Kœchlin sonata is a massive work full of drama and longing, and the four pieces by Jongen are delightful and evocative of a passing or passed era. However, the real gems on this disc are Kœchlin’s all-too-short pieces for viola, horn and piano. This trio combination has a wonderful haunting quality, which Kœchlin is able to use to great effect. Violist Roger Benedict and pianist Timothy Young obviously enjoyed the challenge of doing something different and bringing something unknown into the open, for they play with great conviction and musical understanding. This CD is a real delight.