Cantabile: Anthems for Viola


The Jamaican–American violist Jordan Bak has already achieved international acclaim for his radiant stage presence, dynamic interpretations and fearless power.

In his Delphian debut,joined by the outstanding pianist Richard Uttley, he offers powerful readings of two substantial twentieth-century works – Arnold Bax’s Sonata for Viola and Piano and Benjamin Britten's Lachrymae: Reflections on a song of John Dowland, written respectively for Lionel Tertis and William Primrose – and sets them alongside more recent music for solo viola by Jonathan Harvey and Bright Sheng.

The viola’s capacity for deeply felt, wordless song is further explored in Augusta Read Thomas’s Song without Words, receiving its premiere recording in a version specially composed for Bak and Uttley.

"What’s special about this release is the eclectic menu assembled by a young Jamaican-American, Jordan Bak, who is clearly going places. Bak opens with a three-minute Chant by Jonathan Harvey, dinking back and forth between tonal and post-tonal contemplation. A Romance by Ralph Vaughan Williams, discovered among posthumous papers, is just what I need in these stressed-out times ... The album’s two most substantive, and sumptuous, pieces are by British composers. Arnold Bax’s viola sonata of 1922 is massively mellifluous, rippling with tunes that sound half-remembered and might even be original. Imagine Copland and Holst taking a country walk. The finale is so satisfying ... Benjamin Britten’s Lachrymae: Reflections on a song of Dowland is at once deceptive and self-revealing. Britten uses only the first phrase of Dowland’s song but he enters so fully into the Tudor’s composer’s dolorous outlook that the two composers feel like brothers across two Elizabethan ages. Britten’s erudition, his elegance, his improvisational inspiration, power this piece like a runaway truck. Bak is skilled enough to bring it under control, and then some. His pianist, Richard Uttley, is daringly empathetic. If you don’t love viola, you will after hearing this"

★ ★ ★ ★

Release Date: 20 May 2016
Catalogue No: DCD34158
Total playing time: 1:06:00


Vaughan Williams:Romance


Jordan and Richard perform Vaughan William's haunting Romance during recording sessions in Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh ...

Album Booklet

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Part of the YCAT series on Delphian

This partnership between Delphian Records and YCAT offers rare new recording opportunities for the most promising young artists, combining YCAT’s mission of developing careers at a world-class level with Delphian’s twenty-year-long reputation for bold, considered programming. The partnership will give the artists a unique experience – from initial concept planning, recording and editing to the final packaged and digital product – and will enhance Delphian and YCAT’s commitments to nurturing artists’ artistic development and long-term careers.

Read more about the partnership and discover the range of releases here