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2 World Premieres on New Roger Chase CD

January 2, 2013 | By rwam, inc.

Violist Roger Chase’s latest offering in his continuing series of recordings for Dutton Epoch is a compendium of unusual 20th-century English works by Arnold Bax, Theodore Holland, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Richard Harvey. The BBC Concert Orchestra is led by Stephen Bell and, in his own work, Mr. Harvey.

Bax’s 1920 Phantasy for Viola and Orchestra is based partly on Irish songs, one of which was adopted later as the national anthem of the Irish Free State. The work, originally entitled “Concerto in D minor” was premiered by Lionel Tertis, whose own 17-1/8" Montagnana viola is played now by Roger Chase.

Holland’s Ellingham Marshes was composed in 1940 and premiered at a Promenade Concert with the London Symphony Orchestra and broadcast by the BBC Orchestra a year later, but then fell into oblivion until revived by Roger Chase for this premiere recording. The work evokes the dreamy atmosphere of the Suffolk marshes.

Vaughan Williams’ 1933 Suite, also premiered by Tertis, is a substantial eight-movement work of varying moods. Tertis was the premier violist of the early 20th century who helped establish the solo reputation of the previously under-appreciated instrument. He inspired many major composers to write new works for him, several of which are featured on Chase’s recording The Tertis Tradition with pianist Michiko Otaki, also on Dutton Epoch.

Richard Harvey is best known for his many major film and TV series scores, and wrote concerti for guitarist John Williams and recordist Michala Petri. His viola work, Reflections for Viola and Small Orchestra, is a re-imagining of a work first performed by Roger Chase and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1990 at the Exeter Festival. Harvey, who was Chase’s roommate at the Royal College of Music, incorporates some of the tense Cold War atmosphere of his television scores in a full-length concerto exploiting the viola’s myriad possibilities.

Chase’s ongoing series of CDs on Dutton Epoch has featured other English composers such as York Bowen, Benjamin Dale, Stanley Bate, W.H. Bell, Arthur Bliss, John Ireland, Edmund Rubbra, and Frederick Delius. His Naxos release The Virtuoso Viola, also with Michiko Otaki, includes works of Arthur Benjamin, George Enescu, Joseph Jongen, Henry Vieuxtemps, Nicolo Paganini and Fritz Kreisler. The Duo have also recorded Brahms Sonatas for Centaur Records.

In concert Roger Chase’s “Tertis Project” has been heard at the National Gallery in Washington (and featured on Performance Today), Princeton University, and in Cleveland, Boston, Toronto, and elsewhere. Born in London, he studied at the Royal College of Music with Bernard Shore and in Canada with Steven Staryk, also working for a short time with Tertis. He made his debut with the English Chamber Orchestra in 1979, and in 1987 appeared as a soloist at a Promenade Concert at The Royal Albert Hall in London. He has since played as a soloist and active chamber musician throughout the world.

Roger Chase was a member of many internationally renowned ensembles including the Nash Ensemble, the London Sinfonietta , the Esterhazy Baryton Trio, the Quartet of London, Hausmusik of London, and the London Chamber Orchestra. He currently teaches at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

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