She's Trying To Win Friends For the ViolaOh Soon-wha, an established violist and a professor at the Korea Art School, has just released her first solo album, "After a Dream."
The album is a small victory for Ms. Oh, who has been trying to promote the viola to a public that has been familiar mainly with the sounds of the violin or the cello. "After a Dream" includes two "serious" sonatas and some short pieces.
The title piece, originally written for the cello, is composed by Gabriel Faure. Despite the viola's relatively sad and gloomy tone － compared with the violin － its unique sound is suited for French repertoire, which requires subtlety from the player.
Other songs on the album include Debussy's "A Beautiful Evening" and Rachmaninov's "Vocalise," a song originally written without lyrics and which sounds much smoother on Ms. Oh's viola than when played by the violin. The "Sonata for Viola," composed by Paul Hindemith, was influenced by the Impressionists and is a technically difficult work.
Ms. Oh's interpretation of the sonata is quite faithful to the composer's, and her overall playing is smooth except for a few slips at the beginning of the piece.
Ms. Oh recorded this album with Mario Angelov in a concert hall in Sofia, Bulgaria, last February.
by Lee Jang-jik